Belgium’s Thomas Detry leads the Omega Dubai Desert Classic at the halfway stage after a flawless first 36 holes at Emirates Golf Club.
The 28-year-old matched his opening round of 67, five under par, and remains bogey free after the first two days of play as he goes in search of a maiden European Tour title.
Since graduating from the Challenge Tour in 2016, the Belgian has three runner-up finishes to his name, two of them coming last year during the UK Swing.
Detry is one stroke ahead of Scotland’s Robert MacIntyre, who carded a bogey-free second round of 68 to reach nine under par. MacIntyre broke his duck at the Aphrodite Hills Cyprus Showdown in November and is seeking a strong finish to secure his place inside the Top 50 in the world – he is currently 52nd on the Official World Golf Ranking.
In a share of third place are South African Justin Harding, Kalle Samooja of Finland and five-time European Tour winner Tommy Fleetwood, who eagled the 18th hole to join them on eight under par.
The reigning Race to Dubai champion Lee Westwood shares sixth place with five other competitors, including his Ryder Cup teammate Paul Casey.
Thomas Detry: “First thing that comes to my mind is bogey-free, on this course, that’s a pretty good achievement. Let’s keep it that way.
“I’ve been playing some really good golf, keeping it on the fairway and hitting every single green and getting up-and-down a couple good times. So I’m very pleased.
“The course, it can bite you at any time. There’s some thick rough around the green and hazards on tee shots, as well. Yeah, the key is knowing when to hitting a conservative shot and hitting aggressive shots.”
Robert MacIntyre: “It wasn’t as pretty as yesterday’s round, if I’m being honest. Wasn’t as solid. But that’s the way golf is. You can’t have a 72-hole tournament where you hit it absolutely perfectly. Today I felt I was out of rhythm early on; the group itself, we couldn’t get any momentum within the group, which was difficult.
“You’ve got to be in the fairways. If you miss the fairways and you’re in that second cut of rough, it’s a lottery. Sometimes you can advance it 180 yards and sometimes you can only move it a hundred. It’s about finding fairways and greens and yeah, just try and hole some putts.”
Tommy Fleetwood: “Felt like after the first, didn’t play all that bad. It’s pretty tough out there. In the afternoon, the course kind of firms out and the rough around the greens, put together with firm greens, and again, pretty quick, makes it pretty hard.
“So I think I played really well. The irons were good again. So felt like I was in control for a lot of the day. Managed to get it going a little bit when you had to stay really patient early doors. I think, you know, pars are pretty good out there, really, and then if you can just pick shots up, that’s the best way to do it.
“I started getting it going a little bit and then it became a little bit more frustrating. Yeah, eagle on the last, makes that right.“