Fitzpatrick one clear as Race to Dubai hots up

Matthew Fitzpatrick grabbed a one-stroke lead at the halfway stage of the DP World Tour championship on Friday, as the battle for the Race to Dubai got even more interesting.

Fitzpatrick signed for a second consecutive five-under 67 around the Jumeirah Golf Estates Course, enough to go to ten under par for the tournament, one stroke ahead of fellow countryman Tyrrell Hatton.

The Englishman, the defending champion in Dubai, moved into contention with a superb eagle on the par four 14th. A lengthy birdie from the edge of the 15th green saw him move into the lead, but he found the bunker off the tee at the 17th to drop a shot.

He’s now the favourite to claim the title but at this early stage nothing is guaranteed. These reviews at Cheeky Punter all show sites offering odds on the event if you’re looking to see who the bookies have as the most likely to finish up on top.

The World No 31 would strike with his hot putter on the last, however, draining a 25 foot putt to grab the lead outright.

“I’ve got nothing to lose,” quipped te 23-year-old, who is down in 12th in the Race to Dubai rankings.

“I’m not trying to win the Race to Dubai, unfortunately. I did win last year and that probably gives me a little bit more confidence than everyone else. Maybe apart from Rosey because he’s won the last two starts.

“I’m just looking forward to the weekend and delighted that I could put myself in position.”

Second-placed Hatton would card a round-of-the-day nine under 63 despite a bogey six on the last. A hole out from 144 yards on the par four fifth for an eagle set him off on a birdie run where he had gains on five of the next six holes.

The battle for the Race to Dubai and the European Tour No 1 spot also took a very interesting turn, with Justin Rose enduring a so-so day and Tommy Fleetwood making a significant move.

Rose is still in the best position to take the win, two shots off the lead after his second-round 70, tied for third with Thai star Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Julian Suri of the USA on eight under.

But it was a much better day for Race to Dubai leader Tommy Fleetwood – who needs a top five finish to virtually secure him the Harry Vardon trophy – as he posted a sizzling seven-under 65 to move him up to T11 on six under and put some real pressure on Rose.

Finally, Sergio Garcia also improved to five under, five off the lead, thanks to a second-round 69, and the Spaniard can’t be counted out of the race yet either.

All will be decided in Dubai this weekend.