Dubai: Following his scintillating and record-breaking opening round, Andy Sullivan continued his one-man assault on the Fire Course at Jumeirah Golf Estates for the inaugural Golf in Dubai Championship as he carded a second round six-under-par 66 to get to 17-under par and take a three-stroke lead into the weekend.
“Trying to follow a 61, the key is to stay patient and try and give myself as many chances as possible,” said Sullivan, who was one shot shy of breaking the European Tour’s lowest 36-hole score-to-par record. “When I was three under through nine today I didn’t feel as good as I did yesterday, but I knew if I kept giving myself opportunities coming in I would eventually take some.”
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Sullivan sits ahead of fellow Englishmen Ross Fisher and Matt Wallace, who both reached 14-under par at the halfway stage with matching scores of 63-67.
“My processes were really good, I feel like I was seeing the line really well on the greens but my pace with the putts was a little strong today,” said Sullivan, who has converted a 36 hole lead three times out of six on the European Tour so far in his career. “I feel like I’ve got the golf ball under some sort of control at the moment and I feel comfortable out there — both off the tee and into the green. It’s a feeling that doesn’t happen too often.”
Fisher was delighted to remain bogey free through the opening 36 holes having made seven birdies and an eagle on Wednesday and five birdies on Thursday.
“It was trickier today as it was bit fresher teeing off first thing in the morning and it was playing longer than yesterday,” said Fisher. “Patience was a big thing, waiting for the weather to warm up so you could start hitting the clubs you were hitting yesterday. So, it was tricky out there but I managed to get away with no bogeys.
“Yesterday, making all those birdies and one eagle, you feel like the game is in good shape. I made five birdies today and there were probably at least a handful that slipped by, but I’m not going to stand here and complain that I’ve missed a few putts. I’m 14 under, haven’t made a bogey, so life’s pretty good.”
Wallace birdied the last to get to 14-under par alongside Fisher and is happy to be playing alongside his compatriots in Friday’s third round.
“I’m very happy with where I’m at,” said Wallace. “I showed myself that I can be patient after a bad start. I kept saying to myself: ‘I shot nine under yesterday, so I’m allowed to play bad — but I’m not allowed to get down on myself’. I knew I was playing well so I just had to commit to every shot, and I did that.
“I’m in a good place and I’m looking forward to playing with Ross and Andy — three English guys at the top is nice.”
Craig Howie, Max Schmitt and Antoine Rozner all sit at 12-under par, five strokes back but ready to make a weekend assault of their own.
Germany’s Schmitt, who had local pro Sam Taylor carrying his bag, is well positioned after a superb 64, while Scotland’s Howie followed yesterday’s 64 with a 68. France’s Rozner added a 69 today to his opening 63.
England’s Steven Brown made a big move after signing for a nine-under par 63 to tag onto his opening round of two-under par 70 to climb over 40 places into a share of seventh alongside a host of players on 11 under par, including 2018 Ryder Cup star Thorbjørn Olesen who fired a 64.