By Fatiha Betscher, Abu Dhabi.
Braveheart Scott Jamieson continued to defy not only the efforts of the game’s best but also ‘windier than Scotland’ weather on day two of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.
Jamieson, 38, moved four shots clear early on before a mid-round collapse before a superb 17th hole birdie in a round of 74 to maintain his one-shot lead at seven-under-par on the Yas Links course. In-form Viktor Hovland (74) and Ian Poulter (72) are next best at six-under-par.
In probably the worst weather in the 17-year history of the event, and with winds nudging 30 mph, made for just one player, South African Jeff Winter (69) breaking par on day two while the time it was taking to complete the morning rounds pushed back the afternoon tee-times put back by 25-minutes resulting in 39-players in the now 131-player $8m field not finishing their rounds
Glaswegian-born Jamieson, and contesting his 300th Tour event, was lucky to complete his round with the siren sounding to halt play due to the fading light, as he was coming down his last.
“It’s windier than Scotland. It was blooming cold today”, said Jamieson. “This isn’t what I expected. I knew it was going to be windy but thought it would still be short sleeves.
“We were fortunate as we weren’t expected to finish. The front nine was really slow. It does mean my morning will now be more relaxing given we finished so also given my position, I would have had quite a long wait.”
The Jacksonville-based Jamieson has won once on the Tour in capturing the severely rain-interrupted 2012 Nelson Mandela Championship and now in his 300th Tour event, Jamieson continues his impressive showing.
Hovland continues also to impress and teeing up in the UAE capital just weeks after toasting success in far warmer weather at the Tiger Woods hosted Hero World Challenge in the sun-splashed Bahamas.
Though after producing nine birdies on day one, Hovland could manage just one birdie but also posted three bogeys
“It was a tough day today. Obviously, I would have liked to have made a couple more putts today and I think I could have shot under par today but it was really difficult when it was blowing as much as it is,” he said.
“There were a lot of the pins when, for example, they put it back of the greens, you have a lot of room short, for example, and obviously you want to try to get it close and give yourself a birdie look but there are so many nuances.
“Like you’re in the rough but it might jump and I’m not sure how much it’s going to jump. You’re all playing defensive on every single shot. So, it’s just, yeah, a really grinding day.”
Defending Champion Tyrrell Hatton’s five over 77 left him six shots back on a one under total, while four-time Major champion Rory McIlroy had to hole a nerve-jangling birdie putt on the final hole to leave himself in a good position to make the weekend. He sits right on the cut line on three over, with round two to be completed on Saturday morning with Lowry the best of the four Irish signing for a 72 to be presently sharing fifth place on five-under.
Padraig Harrington was clearly delighted to hole a 20-footer putt for par on 18 in posting a 71 to be tied 30th at level par with McIlroy currently tied in 60th place.
And Jonathan Caldwell disappointingly sits out the weekend with scores of 77 and 78.
- Full Abu Dhabi scoring HERE