Sergio Garcia has retained pole position after the completion of the weather-delayed second round on the third morning of the 28th Omega Dubai Desert Classic.
The 37-year-old Spaniard backed up his pace-setting 65 Thursday with a 67 at Emirates Golf Club early Saturday to be -12 for the championship, three shots clear of compatriot Nacho Elvira (68).
A 68 has Open champion Henrik Stenson lurking at -8 in a share of third place alongside South African George Coetzee while American Peter Uihlein and Englishman Chris Paisley are a shot further back. Ryder Cup veteran Ian Poulter is at -6.
In exciting news for the MENA Tour, Dubai-adopted India amateur Rayhan Thomas has survived a topsy-turvy second round to make his first European Tour cut at just his third attempt, some feat for a 17-year-old.
Resuming his second round at even par (-4 for the championship after Thursday’s sparking 68), Thomas teetered with a double bogey on the 5th and further dropped shots on the 6th, 10th and 12th before getting it back to -3. But the Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club member threw away back-to-back birdies on 16 and 17 with a double bogey seven on the 18th to eventually sign for a 75. Thankfully he’s still in the red at -1 for the championship, three shots inside the cut line at +1.
The top of the leaderboard is predictably dominated by those who found themselves on the right side of the draw for this bizarrely weather-impacted Desert Swing decider.
Garcia took advantage of the best of Thursday’s conditions and clearly didn’t mind being hooked from the Majlis course just five holes into his second round last night. He returned this morning to rattle off three successive birdies from the 6th and then cancelled out a bogey on the long par 412th with further gains on the 13th and 16th.
Coetzee had the lead at -9 when play was suspended on Thursday due to high winds and got it to -10 with a birdie on his first hole back, the par 5 18th. But a bogey on the short par 4 2nd and a double bogey on his final hole, the water-fringed 9th, saw the 30-year-old, three-time European Tour winner sign for a second round 70.
Noteables to miss the cut include Qatar Masters champion Jeunghun Wang, out-going and incoming Ryder Cup captains Darren Clarke and Thomas Bjorn and Frenchman Victor Dubuisson (all at +3).