Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship: Tyrrell Hatton leads as Rory McIlroy falters

Tyrell Hatton
-11 T Hatton (Eng); -10 R Cabrera Bello (Spa); -8 R McIlroy (NI), N Elvira (Spa), L Herbert (Aus)
Selected: -7 S Gallacher (Sco); 6 T Fleetwood (Eng), M Warren (Sco), M Wallace (Eng); -5 C Shinkwin (Eng); -2 L Westwood (Eng), J Rose (Eng), -1 D Willett (Eng); Level J Thomas (US)

World number nine Tyrrell Hatton leads the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship by one shot after the opening two rounds.

Hatton led by five before Friday’s play was curtailed by bad light and he was among those finishing off on Saturday.

He dropped a shot on the 17th to sign for a four-under 68 and 11-under total.

Spain’s Rafa Cabrera Bello had three birdies in his final five holes to close to within one, while Rory McIlroy birdied one of his remaining four holes and is joint third on eight under.

Northern Ireland’s McIlroy shot a bogey-free 64 on day one and began the second day in similar form, with two birdies in the first three holes.

However, the 31-year-old’s progress was halted with three bogeys and a double bogey.

World number six McIlroy is competing in his first European Tour event in 14 months, in a tournament where he has finished second four times.

“It was nice to make one birdie on the way in,” said McIlroy after signing for a level-par 72 on Saturday morning.

“I limited the damage well for the most part. I drove it a bit better this morning but yesterday wasn’t great and when you don’t drive it great here, especially where they have some of the pins tucked, it was just hard to get close.”

He was playing with world number three Justin Thomas, who missed the cut by one shot after a double-bogey seven on the par-five 18th left him at level par.

Tommy Fleetwood is six under for the tournament following a second-round 67.

The Englishman was among those to start early on Friday in order to complete their opening round after fading light also saw day one cut short.

Defending champion Lee Westwood had a one-over-par 73 to drop to two under for the tournament.

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