South African Richard Sterne held off a valiant charge from Thorbjorn Olesen and birdied the last hole to retain a one shot lead going into the third round on Saturday at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic. Sterne struggled most of the day, shooting a 2-under par 70 at the Emirates Golf Course to finish one stroke better at -12 under par than his closest competitors.
Thorbjorn Olesen shot a tournament low, 6-under par to get into a tie for second place with Tommy Fleetwood from England, and Stephen Gallacher from Scotland who both had good opening rounds on Thursday. Olesen had his second bogey free round, and put a string of four consecutive birdies together starting the back nine to close it out with a 33. He has had a pretty good spring, getting a tie for second place at Abu Dhabi a couple of weeks ago,and into 43rd place in world rankings, he is currently 8th in Race To Dubai points.
Sergio Garcia, who has had a decent run in the desert, made an eagle three at the par five 18th hole to pull into a tie for 8th place with Romain Wattel, and Jeev Milkha Singh at 9-under par. Garcia is 14th in world rankings, and 13th in Race to Dubai points. He looks to have his game in check, and ready to contend for a major championship this year.
Lee Westwood double bogeyed the 17th hole en route to posting 1-under par 71 on the day which dropped him 14 spots in the standings into a tie for 26th place. Although Westwood has moved to Florida in an effort to practice during the off-season, still looks to have some rust on his game. He is making his first start of the 2013 season at Dubai. His game is not tournament ready yet, and may need some more work.
Americans Mark O’Meara and Ben Curtis did not fare well on Friday. The 59-year old O’Meara managed only two bogeys in his second round, he finished the day at 2-over par and has a two day total at 3-under par. Curtis was -2 under on the day, but after a poor showing on Thursday, is at a -1 under total, and will probably not make the cut to play the weekend.
The Omega Dubai Desert Classic is the final stop in the Far East for the European Tour, and it will move back to South Africa next week. Top names will start heading to the US to get ready for the Accenture Match Play Championship coming up this month.
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