Bookies still fancy Westwood

Lee Westwood remains at the front of the Dubai World Championship betting after a strong finish to his second round.

Lee Westwood remains favourite to win the Dubai World Championship after a strong finish to his second round.

The Englishman ended day two with a two-shot lead and a top quote of 11/4 at Paddy Power after a dramatic finish on the Greg-Norman designed Earth Course.

It looked as if Padraig Harrington would be the halfway leader and bookies’ favourite as he took a two-shot lead up the final hole but the Irishman twice found water and dropped back to -7 from -9. He’s now 11/2 at Sky Bet having touched 15/8 in-running.

Westwood, meanwhile, went the other way with birdies on 16 and 18 lifting him to nine-under and a two-shot advantage over a big group at -7 which includes his main Race To Dubai rival Rory McIlroy.

McIlroy, who tops the standings, raced to the top of the leaderboard with a front nine 31 in round two and at one point touched 2/1 to win the seasonal finale.

But he came home in two-over 38 to keep his battle with Westwood simmering as they fight it out to finish as European number one.

McIlroy is now 5/1 to take victory and finishing first here might be the only way of stopping Westwood snatch the Race To Dubai from his grasp.

Robert Allenby, who started the day with a one-shot lead, is now in the six-man group at seven-under and is available at 14s while Colombian Villegas, another at -7, is a general 12s.

Sergio Garcia moved into contention with a five-under 67 to finish at -6 and is a top 16/1.

As for Martin Kaymer and Ross Fisher, the other two men who can still win the Race To Dubai, they have a mountain to climb after finishing at -1 and level respectively.

Kaymer is 100/1 at Ladbrokes while Fisher was trading at 240 on the exchanges shortly after round two finished.

Ross McGowan and Louis Oosthuizen shot the low rounds of the day – six-under 66s – and they’re now in the group at seven-under.

McGowan is available at 25s with Oosthuizen five points shorter at 20s.