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Kaymer holds halfway lead in Abu Dhabi

Reuters

(Reuters) - German Martin Kaymer stayed on course for a fourth title at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship with a second consecutive round of 66 to seize the halfway lead on Friday.

The straight-hitting Kaymer again found the course and conditions to his liking to move one stroke clear on 12 under.

Spain's Rafa Cabrera Bello also carded a six-under 66 to move to 11 under for his two rounds.

Kaymer, seeking a first title since the 2014 U.S. Open, took a while to get his round moving.

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On the tee at the par-five eighth he was one over for the day but a brilliant eagle after a superb approach shot was followed by birdies at the 10th and 11th.

Another bogey came on the 12th but he replied immediately on the next hole and chipped in for another birdie on the 14th.

Cabrera Bello had set the pace with seven birdies in his earlier round, but Kaymer sunk a huge putt on the 16th to move level with the Spaniard and moved into the outright lead when he rolled in a birdie on the par-five 18th.

"I don't try to push, I just try to enjoy playing my favorite golf course," Kaymer said.

"Once in a while when a putt drops in you catch momentum and you can make another three or four birdies coming in, like it happened today.

"I felt like I played a little bit better than yesterday. It was a bit more difficult today with the wind, especially the first nine. I struck the ball a little bit better and I made a few long putts today, same as yesterday."

Thai Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Ireland's Paul Dunne and Englishman Tommy Fleetwood, all finished on 10 under.

World number four Henrik Stenson, who set the pace in round one with a majestic 64, slipped back after a one-under 71.

Defending champion Rickie Fowler signed for a 68 to stay just about in contention at four under but U.S. Masters champion Danny Willett had a miserable time with a 76, including a nine at the 10th, to miss the cut.

(Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Ed Osmond)

 
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