Tyrrell Hatton has a fourth Rolex Series victory in his sights after opening up a commanding five shot lead on day two of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.
The World Number Nine recorded an eagle – his third of the week – four birdies and a single bogey in the first 13 holes of his second round before play was suspended due to fading light just before 6pm local time.
The Englishman, who triumphed on home soil at the BMW PGA Championship in September for his fifth European Tour title and his third Rolex Series victory, will re-start his round at 7.30 am on Saturday as he aims to hold off a chasing pack that includes four-time Major winner Rory McIlroy.
The overnight leader slipped back to seven under par with four holes left to play of a rollercoaster second round, to sit in a tie for second alongside Jason Scrivener, Jazz Janewattananond, and Romain Langasque, who will also return to complete the round on Saturday morning.
Two time Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship winner Tommy Fleetwood is amongst a group of ten players at six under par after a bogey-free five under par round of 67.
Tyrrell Hatton: “I’m obviously in a great position at the moment. It was certainly tough out there, so I’m really happy to be five under. Holed some nice putts and there was a couple par putts toward the end of my round, nice to hole them and keep a bit of momentum going.
“I haven’t actually done much short game. It’s been weird. The last sort of three weeks I’ve been hitting balls again, I was mainly focusing on long game. It’s a little bit of a surprise to see my short game as good as it has been last two days but obviously, I need that to continue over the next however many holes we’ve got left.
“Well, it’s not going to be too bad I think because what have we got, four, five holes left to play tomorrow morning. It’s going to be a bit of a long wait potentially if I finish nicely tomorrow morning before I go out for round three. But it will be fine. I’ll just try and stay loose and see how we go.”
Jason Scrivener: “It was hard work this afternoon. Had to hole a few nice par putts to keep the round going but happy with it. Put in a lot of work over the off-season and it’s nice to see it pay off this early, and yeah we look forward to the weekend.
“We’re just not really used to it around here. Normally it’s nice and warm the ball goes a mile but some of those holes are pretty long, so you kind of had to adjust as you went but it’s a really good test.”
Tommy Fleetwood: “I think yesterday, I struggled, like I walked off and sat there last night and talked to Finno and Tommo, and I think I just forced it a little bit.
“It was really windy going out there in tough conditions and I think I tried to force a few golf shots playing in the wind, trying too hard to hit good golf shot and didn’t do the things that we work on, really. So that was just something that we spoke about.
“Slept on it, hit a good one this morning and stiffed it on 12 and got playing again and got going. Today I did things a lot better. Did what we discussed in my golf swing and drove it really, really well there in the afternoon and that made such a big difference in the wind. I was driving it really well. Hit some great irons. Holed out really well. Didn’t really give anything away. It was a much better day, really.”