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Pepperell propels to one-stroke lead

James Jose/Dubai
Filed on January 24, 2020
England's Eddie Pepperell tees off on the 17th hole during the second round of the Dubai Desert Classic golf tournament on Friday. - AP

Pepperell, who turned 29 just a day before the start of the tournament, carded a five-under 67 for an overall eight-under 136.

Friday was a near identical day as the opening day, except that the elements were a little bit generous. It was less windy than it was on Thursday yet the second day's action at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic played out like a soap opera.

There were twists and then, some turns before normalcy was restored at the Majlis Course of the Emirates Golf Club. Amidst all of this, Englishman Eddie Pepperell came up with a decent round of golf to take the lead heading into the business end of the tournament.

Pepperell, who turned 29 just a day before the start of the tournament, carded a five-under 67 for an overall eight-under 136. Pepperell, who has two wins on the European Tour, holds a one-stroke lead over three others that includes defending champion Bryson DeChambeau, who was one among the biggest movers of the day.

Pepperell had seven birdies and two bogeys in his round after he had shot a three-under 69 on the opening day.

Teeing off from the par-5 10th along with Spaniard Jorge Campillo and Norweigan Viktor Hovland, Pepperell began with a birdie on the opening hole before shooting another birdie on the par-5 13th. He was to bogey the par-3 15th but Pepperell ensured that it was a minor blip by following that up with successive birdies on the par-4s 16th and 17th.

He continued in the same vein on his back nine with consecutive birdies on the par-4s 1st and 2nd before coming up with another birdie on the par-3 4th. It could have ended better for Pepperell if not for a bogey on the par-4 6th.

"I felt more calm today, I would say," Pepperell said after his round.

"Actually I would tend to feel more calm as the week goes on at tournaments. So I was happy with how I was feeling early and I got off to a nice start really and, for the most part, it was very, very good until the cameras came along. I must have been concerned with how I was looking, because then I started struggling," added Englishman, who won the Sky Sports British Masters in 2018.

Meanwhile, South African Dean Burmester, put aside a sore ankle following a horrific accident back home last week, to move to tied second alongside Sweden's Robert Karlsson and American DeChambeau. "It was quite hectic," Burmester said about the accident.

"Four cars involved in the accident, our Uber driver drove straight into the back of a Porsche and then we ricocheted onto another car, but luckily we're all okay, we're just bruised and battered and a little bit sore. A slight ankle problem, but nothing too serious. And my wife's got quite bad whiplash, but other than that we're surviving and just happy to be here," added the 30-year-old, who carded a four-under for an overall seven-under.

Meanwhile, DeChambeau put himself in contention with a five-under for a total of seven-under.

Elsewhere Abu Dhabi HSBC golf winner Lee Westwood made the cut but China's Haotong Li, who dramatically beat Rory McIlroy by one stroke to win the Classic in 2018, missed out.

james@khaleejtimes.com

RESULTS

136 - Eddie Pepperell 69-67; 137 - Robert Karlsson (SWE) 69-68, Dean Burmester (RSA) 69-68, Bryson DeChambeau (USA) 70-67; 138 - Wu Ashun (CHN) 69-69, Romain Langasque (FRA) 69-69; 139 - Christiaan Bezuidenhout (RSA) 73-66, Victor Perez (FRA) 73-66, Sebastian Heisele (GER) 70-69, Kurt Kitayama (USA) 69-70; 140 - Matthieu Pavon (FRA) 69-71, Tommy Fleetwood 75-65, Lucas Herbert (AUS) 69-71, Adri Arnaus (ESP) 72-68; 141 - Grant Forrest 73-68, Viktor Hovland (NOR) 71-70, Shane Lowry 72-69

Selected: 142 - Henrik Stenson (SWE) 72-70; 143 - Martin Kaymer (GER) 72-71, Louis Oosthuizen (RSA) 71-72, Sergio Garcia (ESP) 71-72; 144 - Ian Poulter 71-73, Thomas Pieters (BEL) 67-77; 145 - Matthew Fitzpatrick 74-71; 146 - Lee Westwood 78-68, Danny Willett 76-70†



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