Kaymer takes three-shot lead at Abu Dhabi Championship


2009 European TourABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates – Germany’s Martin Kaymer moved into contention for a third Abu Dhabi Golf Championship title after opening a three-shot halfway lead on Friday.

On an unusually gloomy and wet day at the Abu Dhabi Golf Club’s National course, Kaymer shot a 7-under 65 to reach 12-under 132 after two rounds. Overnight leader Charl Schwartzel of South Africa added a 71 to his opening-round 64 and is second at 135.

U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell was third, a shot behind Schwartzel after a battling round of 70.

Ireland’s three-time major winner, Padraig Harrington, was second on the opening day after a round of 65 but was disqualified after a television viewer e-mailed European Tour officials to report an infraction. Harrington failed to replace a ball that had moved a fraction of an inch when he picked up his marker during Thursday’s first round.

Masters champion Phil Mickelson shot one better than his opening-round 71 and was nine shots off the pace.

The second round was halted Friday with three groups still out on the course when play was suspended because of poor light, but England’s Ian Poulter and Open champion Louis Oosthuizen, both at 1-over 145 look set to miss the cut, expected to fall at even-par 144.

Kaymer shot a bogey-free round, going out in 31 and adding two more birdies on the back nine. He wasn’t hitting the ball well, but made up for his inconsistency off the tee with strong putting.

Kaymer, who could move past Tiger Woods into second in the rankings with a win, said: “I think I had a very good day. I made early birdies and was 5 under par for the front nine, which gave me the hope and the belief that I can play well again.

“My ball striking was OK. I missed a few drives hit it way left twice on the eighth and way right on the 10th. So it was spraying a little bit, but my putting always was consistent and good. And if your short game is sharp, you can get a little bit more confidence than usual.”

Mickelson said he used a new putter in the second round and was finally happy with the way he putted on the back nine.

“I tried something new. I needed to do some something different. I made a couple on the back, but I’m still leaving a lot of shots out there. The greens are in perfect shape and they are really rolling nice. But today on the back nine, I made three or four of them and it felt good,” Mickelson said.

“I’m hitting some pretty good shots, so I’m not displeased. I’m encouraged. These are the first two rounds of the year, and I feel like I’ve been hitting the ball fairly well. And I just need to get a low score, because the only thing that matters is shooting a low number.”

The 'Golf Central' crew takes a look at the rules infraction which resulted in Padraig Harrington's disqualification from the Abu Dhabi Championship.

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It was the second time that Harrington has been disqualified from a tournament. In May 2000 at the Benson and Hedges International at the Belfry, England, Harrington led by five shots after three rounds but had failed to sign his first-round card and was disqualified on Sunday morning.

Harrington’s disqualification is the latest to be sparked by a viewer.

Two weeks ago, Camilo Villegas was disqualified from the Tournament of Champions after a viewer pointed out that he had swatted away loose pieces of grass while his attempted chip up a slope rolled back toward him – removing objects that could have influenced the movement of the ball.

Villegas handled the disqualification with grace but not all golfers were happy. Ian Poulter, who lost a playoff at the Dubai World Championship after being penalized for dropping the ball on his marker, wasn’t so kind.

“An armchair official tweeted in to get Camilo DQ, what is wrong with people have they got nothing better to do,” he tweeted back then. “Yes, the rules r the rules it was a mistake on Camilo’s behalf, he didn’t know he had done wrong, but people calling in, no 1 likes a snitch.”