Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship 2013: Day 2 Leaderboard Analysis and Highlights
Well, this is awkward. After a rough start to the tournament in Day 1 for both world No. 1 Rory McIlroy and worldwide sensation Tiger Woods, Day 2 didn't get any better, and both will miss the cut at the 2013 Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, as reported by the Associated Press (via USA Today).
Woods was in position to make the two-over cutoff, but a tournament official informed him post-match that he would incur a two-stroke penalty for an illegal drop when he moved his ball after it became entangled with some weeds.
Woods wasn't the only high-profile golfer to struggle. McIlroy shot two rounds of 75, finishing at six over par and near the bottom of the field. Much has been made of his switch to new Nike golf clubs, but even a switch to his old putter mid-round couldn't pull McIlroy up on this day.
The rest of the field is having no such problems, and leader Justin Rose has really stepped his game up since the 2012 Ryder Cup—his eight-under showing in the first two rounds is a microcosm of that hot streak.
Behind him, three men are tied for second at seven-under, as the rest of the field is certainly going to be less noticeable with golf's two biggest stars going home for the weekend. Still, there's plenty of action left, so let's take a look at the leaderboard after two rounds of play.
Note: Leaderboard and stat information courtesy of EuropeanTour.com
Justin Rose was magnificent yet again, coming home with a 69 in Round 2 and keeping his lead over the rest of the field. He's looking for his sixth win on the European Tour, and if he continues to play like this, he will be a sneaky favorite for the major championships later in the season.
He played solid, steady golf on Friday and squeezed four birdies into a round that included just one bogey early on in his 18.
Gonzalo Fdez-Castano had the best day on Friday, including posting the lowest score and climbing to just one stroke off the pace. After bogeying the opening hole, he got things going, birdieing six of the next 17 to finish with the best score among the field.
The rest of the top 10 is cluttered with names you probably haven't heard of, as Martin Kaymer and Jason Dufner sit among a large group of golfers tied for seventh at four-under.
Kaymer, the three-time winner of this event from 2008 to 2011, is looking to rebound and do the same in 2013, and with a 69 on Friday, he took steps toward getting back to the top at Abu Dhabi.
Behind the 14 men on the leaderboard above, the rest of the field is still in position to make a late push over these last two days. Ernie Els and Padraig Harrington are sitting at even after two rounds, as is Peter Lawrie.
Even without Woods and McIlroy around, the rest of the field isn't going to make things easy on Rose and Co. at the top. At eight under par, his lead isn't nearly safe enough to call this one over, so make sure to check out the final two days of action as things really heat up at Abu Dhabi.
Note: For a complete look at the highlights of Day 2's action, check out EuropeanTour.com.
Ethan Grant is a featured columnist for B/R's Breaking News Team. Check him out on Twitter.
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