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Rose leads the way as stars tumble
Last updated: 19th January 2013
Justin Rose continued to impress at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship on Friday as Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy both failed to make the cut.
While the Englishman was making headlines at the top of the leaderboard after Friday's second round, Nike's superstars McIlroy and Woods, the world's two top-ranked players, were making headlines of their own - albeit for all the wrong reasons.
McIlroy could do no better than another three-over 75, leaving him languishing at six over par, well above the cut line, while Woods followed up his first-round 72 with a 75 of his own to finish on three over, missing the cut by a single stroke.
While McIlroy simply couldn't get his game together, carding five bogeys and only two birdies, Woods' fate was sealed when he received a two-shot penalty after the completion of his round for an incident in the rough at the fifth.
Woods told Sky Sports: "On five, I called Martin (Kaymer, playing partner) over to verify the ball was embedded. We both agreed, but evidently it was in sand and Andy (European Tour official) ruled I broke an infraction, which is a two-shot penalty. Andy feels the way he feels about it and I broke the rules.
"Andy said the ball was not embedded because it was sandy. Martin and I thought it was embedded, but it obviously wasn't.
"It is tough. I did not get off to a good start but I fought and got it back and felt I had a chance going into the weekend."
McIlroy struggled on the greens in particular, and not even a switch to an old putter could help him on Friday.
"I just felt the greens I have been practising on were much faster. It was just a weight issue," he said before being asked if his new equipment company might have a problem with him not using one of their putters.
"I'm not here to talk about my (Nike) contract. I'm here to talk about my golf," he replied.
"I've got four weeks to work on it. I knew it was going to be a tough week (his deal was unveiled on Monday). I hit the ball really well in Dubai last week, but it just got worse for some reason.
"I'm very disappointed. You never want to get off to a poor start, but I've got to realise it's only the start of the season."
Rose, meanwhile, continued along his merry way, adding a solid three-under-par 69 to his opening 67 to take his total to eight under - good enough for a narrow one-shot lead.
The Ryder Cup star's early-season form showed no signs of deserting him, as he mixed four birdies - three on the front nine and one more on the back - with a solitary bogey at the par-four third.
"I felt like my game definitely sharpened up," Rose said. "When you have perfect distance control you know you are swinging it well.
"I thought it was a decent enough score to keep the momentum going. I was pin-high probably eight times, but kept leaving myself awkward distances and had to keep patient."
Spaniard Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano produced the low round of the day, a five-under-par 67, to move into second place on seven under alongside joint-overnight leader Jamie Donaldson of Wales, who shot a 70, and Dane Thorbjorn Olesen, a 69.
South African Garth Mulroy (68) follows two shots further back in a tie for fifth alongside Dutchman Joost Luiten (69), while a number of players are on four under, four shots back, including Italy's Matteo Manassero (68), American Jason Dufner (69), South African Branden Grace (69) and Germany's Martin Kaymer (69).
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