Rory in the desert / Getty Images
Rory followed his first round 63 with a more pedestrian second round of -2 under par 70, but he still maintained top position on the leaderboard at -11 under par. His round today contained three bogey’s, which prevented him from building a commanding lead in the competition. He gave a blow by blow account of his wobbly back nine, but still expects to win this tournament;
“Making a few birdies on the front nine and turning two under par was a good effort, especially as the wind started to get up. I birdied ten, played eleven and twelve okay but then missed that little one (a par putt from inside two feet) on thirteen. Had a chance on fifteen and didn’t convert and made bogey on sixteen, but it was nice to birdie the last and at least give myself a one shot lead going into tomorrow.I will just go back tonight and regroup and realise that I am still leading the tournament. I hit a couple of loose drives which I haven’t done the last couple of weeks but I still feel like I’m playing well enough to go and win the tournament.”
“I have led from the front quite well in tournaments that I have won. I feel like I am still playing well, I know the course as well as anyone else and I expect to go out there and shoot two good scores over the weekend and hopefully lift the trophy.”
Second place belongs to American Brooks Koepka, whose flawless -7 under par 65 equalled the lowest score of the day and elevated him up the leaderboard to -10 under par overall.
Brooks is looking forward to going round with Rory tomorrow;
“I’ve never played with Rory, so it’s going to be fun. I know him a little bit from seeing him around, so hopefully I’ll be able to play as well as I did today. I putted really well today. Yesterday I didn’t putt very well, but today my putter came through for me. I’m striking the ball really well, and I also chipped well today. So everything’s going well, I can’t complain.”
Three players are tied in third place, Danny Willett who also shot -7 under par 65, Damien McGrane and Julien Quesne are at -8 under par for the competition.
European Number One Henrik Stenson and defending champion Stephen Gallacher among seven players another shot back at -7 under par in total.
Henrik was happy with his putting, and is hoping to put in a good challenge here;
“I think there is still a little way to go but today was the best I have putted for a long, long time. I was threatening on every putt and kept the score together with no bogeys, which is always a good sign.”
Danny started the week by jumping out of a plane, he thinks it could have been a good idea, made the first tee shot less terrifying;
“It was a different way to start the week, but if you are standing on the first tee trying to hit a drive onto the fairway it seems a little less nerve-racking than jumping out of a plane at 13,000 feet, so it might have prepared me quite well. As soon as you jump out you think ‘What are we doing?’, but after that you level out and start to feel like you are just floating down and it’s unbelievable.”
He also mentioned his 0700 local time start;
”A half-four alarm is never great but it’s a great time to play golf in the desert. The back nine is the scoreable nine and I was really, really clinical, didn’t miss a green, hit a couple of par fives in two and it was a real easy six under. The front nine gets a little trickier with the breeze and the doglegs but all in all it’s two good days’ work.”
World Number One Tiger Woods, playing alongside Rory, could only manage a second round of +1 over par 73 to make the cut with just one shot to spare on -3 under par.