Race to Dubai leader Patrick Reed took control of the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai, opening up a two shot lead after an impressive eight under par round of 64 on Friday.
Reed, who is aiming to become the first American to win the Race to Dubai, got off to a flying start in round two of the final Rolex Series event of the year at Jumeirah Golf Estates, firing six birdies in his opening ten holes. His first dropped shot of the week came at the 12th, before three more gains on the 15th, 16th and 18th took him to ten under par and two shots ahead of Englishman Matt Fitzpatrick.
Fitzpatrick, who won this event in 2016, is at eight under par after back to back rounds of 68, just ahead of fellow countrymen Laurie Canter and Tyrrell Hatton on seven under par.
The 2017 Race to Dubai winner Tommy Fleetwood and Lee Westwood, who is aiming to top the rankings for a third time, are one shot further back in a tie for fifth place alongside South African Branden Grace and Finn Sami Välimäki.
Patrick Reed: “Any time you shoot eight under par you’re always happy. I feel like today I got off to a little better start than I did yesterday and the putter was working a little bit. Yesterday I felt like I did a lot of things pretty well, just putts weren’t really falling, was kind of burning a couple edges, a couple iron shots weren’t as close as they needed to be, and today I tightened it up. I was able to hit the ball a little closer, give myself more opportunities and seeing the lines a little better today.
“Today and this week and ever since I started kind of with the new swing, it just feels a little bit more controllable. It feels as if I don’t have as big a curves going on irons and stuff, and because of that I feel like whether it’s a right flag or left flag, I can aim closer to the hole rather than trying to aim farther away and trying to sling it in there. For me it’s more of a comfort thing as well as just a consistency thing, because with how good the guys are out here, whether on the PGA Tour or European Tour, whether they’re on, they’re on.”
Matt Fitzpatrick: “This is a golf course I love. It’s a golf course I’ve played well around before, and I’m really, really looking forward to the weekend. It made me laugh, I was thinking me and Patrick were one of the earlier groups last year, bringing up the rear, so it’s nice to have the opposite this year.
“I’ve been in the position before to win around here. Obviously, I know what it takes. But at the same time it’s four years ago now. It’s just a long time ago, unfortunately. But things change, my game changes, different swing thoughts. Honestly after the first two days, I don’t want to jinx myself, touch wood here, but I definitely feel like my swing was way better these first two days than it was the year I won.”
Laurie Canter: “I think the good thing about the golf course, it’s going to force you to hit shots, so the brain can actually pretty quickly get into what you’re doing. That’s a good thing. I just start to really get into the shots out there. This course kind of demands some different stuff, to be honest. Yeah, I was able to do that, and that’s probably — like I say, that probably helps you because you probably get out of your own head a little bit and just hit shots and see where you go.”