Reed Takes Control in Dubai; Van Rooyen Slips to T14
December 11, 2020
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- Patrick Reed took some of the drama out of the Dubai World Championshp -- and the Race to Dubai -- on Friday. If he keeps doing what he did in the second round, there will be no suspense at all by the time Sunday's final round reaches the back nine.
Reed, a former Masters champion (2018) who came into this tournament ranked No. 1 in the Race to Dubai, birdied five of the first eight holes at Jumeirah Golf Estates, and six of the first 10. He went on to shoot an 8-under-par 64. His 36-hole total is 134 (10 under), and he leads former winner Matthew Fitztpatrick by two shots. Fitzpatrick posted his second straight 68 on his way to 136.
Laurie Canter shot the lowest score of the tournament so far, a 66, and he's tied for third with Tyrell Hatton at 137. The 66 was equaled by Brandon Grace, who is tied for fifth at 138. Also at that number are Tommy Fleetwood, the player everyone is waiting to see win a major, and Lee Westwood, the player everyone is hoping will finally win a major -- although the odds are against anyone who's 47 breaking through with a first major -- and Sami Valimaki.
Fleetwood is No. 2 in the Race to Dubai, a season-long competition that is analagous to the PGA Tour's FedEx Cup. Westood is No. 4.
The player that most Minnesota golf fans are rooting for, Erik Van Rooyen (No. 14), was tied for second after an opening-round 68, and he was still in a pretty good position 14 holes into the second round. But bogeys at the 15th hole (371 yards, par 4) and 16th (486, par 4) relegated the former University of Minnesota star to a 73, which put him at 141 and in a tie for 14th place, along with first-round leader Victory Perez (67-74). Van Rooyen, the 2012 Minnesota State Amateur champion, is still within seven shots of the Reed, but anything higher than a 68 on Saturday would probably put an end to his chances for a victory in the European Tour's season-ending event.
The winner of the tournament will get $3 million, and the winner of the Race to Dubai $2 million.
Of course, there are incentives beyond winning. Only 65 players were in the field at the start of the tournament; there is no cut; and the payout is as good as it gets anywhere other than the PGA Tour. Second place this week will be worth $833,334, and fifth place $250,000.
If Reed were to win, he would become the first American to claim the crown as king of the European Tour.
On Friday, he certainly looked like the best player in the field. He birdied five of the first eight holes and six of the first 10. A bogey at the 476-yard, par-4 12th hole showed that he was mortal after all, and he pulled his tee shot at the 204-yard, par-3 13th hole. It put him in a precarious position, but his short game bailed him out, and he went on to birdie three of the last four holes.
He needed only 25 putts for the round.
Fitzpatrick, No,. 16 in the Race to Dubai standings, hasn't won since 2018, but he won this tournament in 2016, and he always seems to play well in Dubai. The player he finished one shot ahead of four years ago was Hatton, and Hatton (No. 9 in the Race to Dubai) has won twice this year -- at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March (the week before Covid 19 interrupted the PGA Tour season) and at the European Tour's BMW PGA Championship in October.
DP World Championship, Dubai
At Jumeirah Golf Estates
Par 72, 7,675 yards
1. Patrick Reed 70-64--134
2. Matthew Fitzpatrick 68-68--136
T3. Tyrrell Hatton 69-68--137
T3. Laurie Canter 71-66--137
T5. Tommy Fleetwood 69-69--138
T5. Sami Valimaki 69-69--138
T5. Lee Westwood 70-68--138
T5. Branden Grace 72-66--138
T9. Martin Kaymer 69-70--139
T9. Danny Willett 72-67--139
T9. Adri Arnaus 71-68--139
T14. Erik Van Rooyen 68-73--141