Abu Dhabi Championship: Francesco Laporta takes lead after strong finish to day two

Francesco Laporta playing at the Abu Dhabi Championship

Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, day two leaderboard
-10 F Laporta (Ita); -9 M Fitzpatrick (Eng), R Cabrera Bello (Spa); -8 S Garcia (Spa), Li Haotong (Chn), R Paratore (Ita); -7 L Westwood (Eng), L Oosthuizen (SA), K Kitayama, P Cantlay (both US), A Arnaus (Spa)
Selected others:-6 D Law (Sco), B Wiesberger (Aut); -4 J Singh Brar, A Sullivan (both Eng), R Ramsay (Sco); -3 B Koepka (US), T Fleetwood, O Fisher, R Fisher, A Chesters, J Senior (all Eng), D Drysdale (Sco)

Italy’s Francesco Laporta finished his second round with five straight birdies to take a one-shot lead at the Abu Dhabi Championship.

England’s Matthew Fitzpatrick stayed bogey-free through 36 holes with a 67 to get to nine under, but Laporta stormed home in 30 in his round of 63.

Rafael Cabrera Bello is also on nine under, but Brooks Koepka slipped from two to seven shots off the lead.

The world number one is two inside the cut after two double-bogeys in a 75.

The American, 29, had opened with a 66 in his first competitive round after three months out with a knee injury.

Italy’s Renato Paratore led overnight with Shaun Norris of South Africa and is now two shots off the lead after shooting par but Norris is on three under with Koepka after a round of 77.

Fitzpatrick, 25, had the first winless season of his professional career in 2019, finishing second five times, and is in contention for his first win since defending the European Masters in September 2018.

“For the first week of the year, to have no bogeys, I couldn’t ask for a better start really,” he said. “I just played really disciplined golf and it’s worked out well so far.”

Laporta added: “Every time I was putting for birdie, I made it. When I had the opportunities, I took them. It was a great day.”

English amateur Josh Hill, 15, beat Koepka in a practice match earlier this week and is six over after following his first round of 74 with a 76.

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BBC Sport – Golf

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