Golf: Thriston and Zander on Rory’s trail

Henry

South Africa’s Thriston Lawrence and Zander Lombard are within striking distance of leader Rory McIIroy of Northern Ireland after the second round of the Dubai Invitational tournament played on the Dubai Creek course.

The tournament is the first in this year’s DP World Series (European Series).

McIlroy, who also led after the first round when he scored 62 shots, spoiled his scorecard on Friday when he scored seven shots (three over par) on the eighth hole.

This followed after he hit his ball into the water twice.

But he stayed calm and held on, walking on 132 strokes (-10) two strokes ahead of Germany’s Yannik Paul and Denmark’s Jeff Winther (both 134, -8).

Lawrence and Lombard both finished at 135 (-7) in the clubhouse after posting scores of 70 and 68 respectively in the second round.

They are on McIlroy’s heels along with two Englishmen, Tommy Fleetwood and Jordan Smith and Denmark’s Thorbjorn Olesen.

Lawrence scored three birdies in the second round, but surrendered shots for par on the 5th and 13th holes.

Lombard chipped in with five birdies, but on three holes (10th, 12th and 16th) conceded strokes for par for his 68, which is three strokes under par.

Among the other South Africans, Hennie du Plessis (142, equal figure) and Ockie Strydom (143, +1) are also in the race.

* At the Waialae Country Club in Hawaii, the young American Austin Eckroat, Byeong-Hun An of South Korea and Carl Yuan of China lead together after the second round of the Sony Open, which is part of the American PGA Series.

They finished on a combined 131 strokes (-9) in the clubhouse and are one stroke ahead of Australia’s Cameron Davis, Matthieu Pavon (France), Americans Chris Kirk, Kurt Kitayama, Grayson Murray, Ben Griffin, Stewart Cink, Keith Mitchell and Taylor Montgomery as well as Stephan Jaeger (Germany) who are all together fourth at 132 (-8).

The two South Africans Erik van Rooyen (136) and Garrick Higgo (138) are further back.

The 24-year-old Eckroat was second in the Byron Nelson tournament last year and in the final round of the US Open scored 29 shots in the fourth round over the first nine holes. He finished tenth in this tournament.

The Sony tournament is also a personal triumph for the 39-year-old American Gary Woodland, although he could not qualify for the last two rounds.

Woodland underwent brain surgery in September last year to remove a tumor and this was his first tournament after his successful surgery.

He scored two rounds of 71 and was in tears during his media interview about the support he received.

Sources: The Golf Channel, BBC