Saturday, January 31, 2009

Ernie Els misses cut by one with 144 halfway total

McIlroy's eagle at the 18th gives

him halfway lead in Dubai

Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy eagled the final hole of his second round to take a one-stroke lead at the halfway point of the delayed Dubai Desert Classic today.
The 19-year-old first-round leader holed a 25ft putt at the par-5 last hole after safely playing his approach to the left of the flag with a precise six-iron to move a shot clear of in-form South African Louis Oosthuizen and Dubai-based Henrik Stenson at 12-under-par 132.
Abu Dhabi and Qatar runner-up Oosthuizen picked up seven shots on the back nine which included a hole-in-one to card a seven under 65 to move alongside Stenson.
After the second rounds were finally completed today after six hours' play were lost to fog over the last two days, the third round will be played from two tees and in a three-ball format in an attempt to finish as many rounds as possible by end of play today.
But the likes of McIlroy and Stenson are expected to have to still play around 25 holes on Sunday.
World No 39 McIlroy, who is still searching for his maiden tour win after two play-off defeats last year, had started his second round on Friday evening and briefly dropped back to seven under after dropping a shot over three holes before bad light stopped play.
But he returned this morning to follow up his first-round eight under 64 with three birdies in seven holes around the turn before his final hole heroics.
Justin Rose joined Australian Richard Green tied for fourth at 10 under after carding a second round 66.
On Friday 1997 champion Green leapt up the leaderboard with a bogey-free nine-under-par 63.
Frenchman Gregory Havret (68) sits alone at nine under, with Robert Karlsson (71), world number two Sergio Garcia (66), Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano (70) and Abu Dhabi winner Paul Casey (68) a shot further off the pace.
Halfway totals of 143 or better were necessary to survive the halfway cut.
Biggest name casualty was South African Ernie Els with 71 and 73 for 144.
Andrew Coltart (71-174) missed out on 145 and American Mark O'Meara failed to qualify with 77 and 74 for 151.
132 Rory McIlroy 64 68.
133 Louis Oosthuizen (SAf) 78 65, Henrik Stenson (Swe) 68 65.
134 Richard Green (Aus) 71 63, Justin Rose 68 65,
135 Gregory Havret (Fra) 67 68.
136 Robert Karlsson (Swe), Sergio Garcia (Spa), Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano (Spa), Paul Casey (Eng).
+Paul Lawrie made the cut with nothing to spare on 143 (68-75).



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