Donaldson retains lead in fog-hit Dubai Desert Classic

Welshman fires a 69 as a number of players were unable to finish their second rounds
Jamie Donaldson of Wales walks off the 18th hole during round two of the Omega Dubai Desert Classic at Emirates Golf Club. (Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
By AFP
Fri 26 Jan 2018 07:56 PM

Jamie Donaldson overcame a frustrating fog-enduced delayed start to add a three-under par 69 to his overnight 62 and retain the clubhouse lead in the incomplete Dubai Desert Classic second round on Friday.

Start of play in the morning was delayed by two hours and 50 minutes, but that did not seem to affect the 42-year-old Welshman, who followed up a low round with a solid 69 to tally 13-under par for his two rounds and lead by one shot over China’s Li Haotong (66).

None of the players in the afternoon session were able to finish their second round.

Among those on the course were Rory McIlroy (10-under par after 11 holes), defending champion Sergio Garcia (six-under after 11), world No10 Henrik Stenson (seven-under after 11) and Race to Dubai champion Tommy Fleetwood (five-under after 10).

South Africa's Branden Grace (65) was in third place at 11-under par 133.

Spain's 54-year-old Miguel Angel Jimenez, already the oldest champion on the European Tour, shot a 68 despite a double bogey to join Thomas Aiken (67) at 10-under par.

Donaldson, who has not won on the European Tour since the Czech Masters in August 2014 and has dropped to 292nd in the world rankings, made four birdies and a solitary bogey on the par-3 11th hole.

He reflected: "I am quite happy with a 69. It was pretty solid again. Drove the ball well. Iron shots were good. Took the birdies generally when I hit it close enough. Could have played the par 5s maybe a little bit better."

Li made just one par on his back nine – the front nine of the golf course – and had 10 birdies in his round.

The pleasant surprise was the effort by Jimenez, who won this tournament in 2010 but nowadays concentrates mostly on the Seniors Tour.

The cigar-smoking Spaniard had a late double bogey – on the par-3 seventh (his 16th hole of the day after starting from 10th) – but that was his only blemish of the day.

"I always enjoy Dubai very much, with this beautiful weather and these conditions, and the golf course is one that I always like to play," said Jimenez, who is playing his 30th season on the European Tour.

"My game is nice. I hit it very nice, solid, and controlled the ball. That's what you need to do here. I’ve won here before and I feel like I can defend myself with my game on this golf course, and here we are."

The players will return to the course to finish their second round at 0330 GMT Saturday ahead of the third round.

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