Johnson, McIlroy vault into contention in Abu Dhabi

20 January, 2018, 05:22 | Author: Nora May
  • Rory McIlroy

McIlroy also enjoyed two days playing alongside world No 1 Dustin Johnson and European No 1 Tommy Fleetwood, who are also firmly in contention heading into the weekend, and being able to keep up with Johnson's long driving was another positive for the Northern Irishman. He started with 11 consecutive pars from the 10th tee, but stayed patient and found some joy coming in.

English compatriot Paul Casey, who has twice been a victor here, shot a seven-under par 65, which included an eagle and five birdies, is at nine-under for the Championship. England's Justin Rose, the second highest ranked player in the field at No.6, was one better at 71, while No.9 Henrik Stenson finished on two-under par 70. And he showed no signs of cooling off with his round on Thursday, which featured hitting all 18 greens in regulation.

SCOTT Vincent continues with his outstanding performances as he made another cut in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship presented by EGA at the Abu Dhabi Golf Club yesterday.

"I suppose ultimately it means nothing in the grand scheme of things because you can't control what other guys do, but the biggest motivation is that (Martin) Kaymer has won here three times and I've got two".

"I'm ball striking well and I hit 16 greens today". I drove it well. "I wasn't expecting to see him on the tee there - I was a little bit surprised to see him inside the ropes but he hit a great shot". "I didn't put myself under any stress at all".

"You need to hit it a lot more accurate off the tee because being in the fairway is a lot more important", Rahm said about the Pete Dye-designed Stadium Course, a layout the former Arizona State player likened to the Dye-designed Karsten course on the school's campus. That might be the best one I get.

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"If I get off to a hot start tomorrow before the leaders go off, and all of a sudden you're one back or tied or the lead, and then you're really in the tournament".

"I think after the first day, seeing where my game's at and playing alongside two of the most in-form players in the world right now, I feel like I'm not that far away". A bogey-free 69, I can't really complain.

"This is actually the best I've driven it in a lot of years", he said.

"So I just, again, tried to stay as patient as possible".

Johnson said he was eager to get back to Augusta National and compete in the Masters after missing the event previous year when he reportedly slipped on a wet staircase and hurt himself on the eve of the tournament.

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