DUBAI: Shane Lowry and John Catlin stormed up the leaderboard to hold a share of the lead alongside Sam Horsfield with overnight leader Rory McIlroy a stroke behind at the half-way stage of the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai.
On the second day of the European Tour’s season-ending event at Jumeirah Golf Estates, Ireland’s Lowry and America’s Catlin were among the biggest movers of the day with both climbing 14 places after carding 65.
Lowry began the day on three-under-par and made five birdies and an eagle while Catlin managed eight birdies and a bogey in his 18 holes. They are joined at the top by England’s Horsfield who, despite back-to-back bogies, made seven birdies.
Speaking after his round, Lowry said: “I feel like my game is in good shape and I feel I know my way around this place and I know how to play here. So, I’m happy to be at the top of the leaderboard and looking forward to going again.”
Catlin, said winning the competition on Sunday would make a huge difference to his life. He said: “I’m very pleased to get off to a good start. This is a very challenging golf course and every single shot has to be executed almost to perfection and it was nice to get some good shots. To get the win would be a life-changer, it’s probably the biggest event we have out here and to win that would be truly special.”
McIlroy had the chance to build on his solid opening day’s 65 and two-shot overnight lead but despite five birdies, a bogey on the 10th and a double bogey on the last proved costly. Sitting at nine-under means the Northern Irishman is now tied fourth alongside Sweden’s Alexander Bjork, who shot 67 for the day.
Collin Morikawa remains in contention to secure the Race to Dubai title, matching his opening round score of 68, trailing the lead by two shots.
Meanwhile, Ireland’s Brendan Lawlor opened with an impressive two under par round of 70 to take a two shot lead in the European Disabled Golfer’s Association (EDGA) Dubai Finale.
Lawlor mixed six birdies with four bogeys on the Earth Course as he seeks his third victory of the five-event series. He will take a two-stroke advantage over Englishman Mike Browne and Canadian Kurtis Barkley going into Saturday’s final round.
The second day of action at Jumeirah Golf Estates was watched by thousands of spectators as the tournament hosted its first Ladies Day. Throughout the day, ladies had the chance to enjoy a wide range of activities including taking part in a special golf clinic as well as winning prizes.