by Jeff Skinner
The youngsters had their way with the course at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship on Friday as the world’s most famous golfers were still trying to find the secret to the desert course. Danish golfer Thorbjorn Olesen, 21 shot a 67 to jump up eight slots and take the lead by a stroke. Nineteen year old Matteo Manassero shot the low score of the tournament with a bogey free, seven under 65 to vault himself into a tie for second with Gareth Maybin.
While the kids were making a move today the featured threesome of Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Luke Donald weren’t as fortunate. Donald had a lackluster round of par which left him six strokes back and T32. McIlroy also carded a 72 but he could have been in a tie for first had he not incurred a two stroke penalty for brushing sand off the ninth green while his ball sat off the green. McIlroy admitted to knowing the rule but just suffered a brain lapse as he surveyed his shot. He did manage to bounce back with three birdies and one bogey over his remaining holes but without that penalty he is sharing the lead.
Tiger Woods saw a bit of a change in his round two game as he putted better, 28 putts, but still needs to improve his short stick if he expects to win here. He sprayed his ball a bit more today only finding six fairways and thirteen greens. But Woods is playing his best golf in a long time and he managed to pair two bogeys with five birdies for a three under 69 and lies only two strokes off the lead. Afterwards, Woods said he hit the ball about the same as the first round but was still struggling with the large greens. He said they were “tough to read” and even though he was better on the greens today he knows that he’ll need to sink more putts. But he has to be happy with two solid rounds of golf and sitting a few strokes back with plenty of golf still left to play.