Sullivan snatches clubhouse lead

Abu Dhabi, January 22

Andy Sullivan continued to display impressive form as he snatched the clubhouse lead at the weather-disrupted second round of the $2.7 million Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship on Friday.

Early-morning fog at Abu Dhabi Golf Club reduced visibility to less than 50 yards and delayed the scheduled start of the second day’s play by two hours and 45 minutes.

The delay meant that the afternoon session players could not complete their rounds, and that included the feature group of world No 1 Jordan Spieth, No 3 Rory McIlroy and No 6 Rickie Fowler. Overnight leader, American amateur Bryson DeChambeau, will also have to come out early Saturday morning to complete his round.

The 29-year-old Sullivan added a second consecutive five-under 67 to move to 10-under 134 for the tournament, three shots better than Dutchman Joost Luiten (68) and Spaniard Rafael Cabrera-Bello (67).

It was an eventful round for Sullivan, who started on the 10th tee with three birdies on the trot, and finished in a similar fashion. In between, he made another birdie on the first hole and two bogeys. “Got off to a great start out there straightaway, putter was getting hot early doors and sort of lost my way in the middle there,” said Sullivan, who was playing with the European Ryder Cup captain Darren Clarke. “I started losing the ball left a little bit and was really happy with the fight back at the end. It puts me at the top of the leaderboard, which is great.”

When play was finally suspended for the day, DeChambeau had just made a bogey on the ninth hole to be one-under par for the day and one shot behind leader Sullivan at nine-under par. The group of Spieth, McIlroy and Fowler had finished playing 13 holes when the hooter went off. Spieth had dropped a shot by then to be on three-under par after making back-to-back bogeys on the fourth and fifth holes.

McIlroy could not make a single birdie and a bogey on ninth had dropped him to five-under par, while three birdies had lifted Fowler to the same score as the Northern Irishman.