DP World Tour Championship second round leaderboard
|-10 H Stenson (Swe) -8 D Willett (Eng), R Ramsay (Sco), R McIlroy (NI); -7R Cabrera-Bello (Spa), J Rose (Eng), K Broberg (Swe), T Olesen (Den), S Lowry (Ire). Selected others -5 V Dubuisson (Fra); -4 S Gallacher (Sco); -3L Westwood (Eng); -2 L Donald (Eng), S Garcia (Spa), J Donaldson (Wal), G McDowell (NI); Level I Poulter (Eng)|
Defending champion Henrik Stenson fired a six-under-par 66 to take the halfway lead on 10 under at the season-ending DP World Tour Championship in Dubai.
The Swede leads by two from world number one Rory McIlroy, who carded a two-under 70, England’s Danny Willett (67) and Scotland’s Richie Ramsay (69).
Ireland’s Shane Lowry, who led overnight with McIlroy, made a hole-in-one on the par-three 13th in his 71.
England’s Justin Rose bogeyed the last for a 66 to join Lowry on seven under.
Rose, who was four over after six holes in round one, finished with five birdies in eight holes and continued that form with three birdies in his opening seven on Friday.
“I won the US Open (in 2013) from four over after 11 holes as well,” said Rose. “My caddie and I were joking about putting an extra club in my bag for the first two holes (earning a four-shot penalty) just to get it over with.”
Stenson, who won the Race to Dubai by winning this tournament with a record 25-under aggregate last year, managed three birdies in his final six holes despite admitting to “hitting the wall” from the 12th.
“I felt like I was running out of steam,” said the 38-year-old. “It was difficult mentally. I had to really focus hard and drag myself over the finish line.
“I just felt like I hit the wall on 12. If it’s one or two holes left, you normally feel like, ‘OK, I can hang on’. But it was a bit of an uphill struggle from there.”
McIlroy, who has already won the Race to Dubai, mixed four birdies with two bogeys in his round, which also included a mis-hit five wood that he described as “a fat, low, duck-hook runner that was not intentional”.
The Northern Irishman also drove into the water on the par-five 18th but escaped with a par after a deft chip from greenside rough to six inches.
“It could have been worse but it probably could have been a little better,” said McIlroy.
“I’m in a good position and there is a lot of golf left. I’ve definitely been in worse positions after two rounds and still won.”