The English pair of Tyrrell Hatton and Matt Fitzpatrick both shot five under par 67’s in the second round to be 12 under par in the season ending $10 million DP World Tour Championship, Dubai played over the Earth course at Jumeirah Golf Estates.
The co-first round leaders matched each other shot for shot all day and they take a three-shot lead into the weekend from tied third placed Alex Noren and Dubai based Adri Arnaus. Another two Spaniards, Jon Rahm and Jorge Campillo are a further shot behind on eight under par.
On the calmest of days with barely any breeze, Hatton had an eight birdie round with nines of 32 and 35, that also contained three bogeys, whilst Fitzpatrick had six birdies and a sole bogey, his first of the week on hole 12, with nines of 33 and 34.
Rory McIlroy was hovering at one under par for the tournament after bogeying hole 15. He finished brilliantly by going birdie, birdie, eagle on the final three holes to finish with a second round 68 to move to five under par for 36 holes and in tied 11th place and seven back of the leaders.
The projected season ending DP World Tour Rankings at the end of play show Fitzpatrick currently overtaking both Ryan Fox, who has had rounds of 73 and 72 to lie in 37th place, and McIlroy, with two rounds to play. However, it looks like going to the wire on Sunday afternoon with little between Fitzpatrick and McIlroy in the Rankings race.
Fitzpatrick, the two-time winner of the DP World Tour Championship winner with another three top-10 finishes from just seven visits to the Earth course, said after his round, ‘Really, really pleased with the way I played again. And yeah, scored really well too. It was a good day.
‘Just got to keep pushing on, just keep playing how I feel like I'm playing right now. I feel really comfortable with where my game is at, particularly after three weeks off, and looking forward to the weekend.
‘I feel like I've played two good rounds to start with and put myself in position and I'll just keep doing more of the same and see where it gets me come Sunday.’
Hatton said, ‘I'm pretty happy with the score. I got off to another nice start again today.
‘I feel like I've generally played some pretty good golf. We got a little unlucky on the back nine, which I feel like it stalled our momentum a little bit.
'Really happy to par the last today. That's probably one of the best three woods I've hit in my life, to be fair, and I didn't realise it was as close as it was. It was a tough crowd on 18! Nice way to finish the day.’
The best round of the day was by Ashun Wu who shot a second round 64 to follow his first round 78 to move up 30 spots to tied 20th.
The third round tomorrow (Saturday) sees Hatton and Fitzpatrick teeing off at 12.45 pm.