Race to Dubai: Alvaro Quiros the Leader Halfway; Luke Donald Back in Contention

Carlos TorresContributor IDecember 9, 2011

Alvaro Quiros set the 36-hole course record at 12-under and take a commanding four-shot lead.
Alvaro Quiros set the 36-hole course record at 12-under and take a commanding four-shot lead.David Cannon/Getty Images

Two rounds, twice the Earth Course record at the Jumeirah Golf Estates in the Race to Dubai has been tied. Today, it was Spain's Alvaro Quiros shooting eight-under. This gave him a 12-under total and a four-shot lead at the halfway mark.

The 12-under total after 36 holes, is a new course record. The previous mark was nine-under achieved by Lee Westwood in 2009, and Ross Fisher and Ian Poulter at last year's event.

Quiros, who won the Omega Dessert Classic at the Emirates Golf Club here in Dubai earlier this year, played a bogey-free round today.

He took total command of the tournament with a birdie-par-eagle finish on the last three holes. The big hitting Spaniard, finished the round with an exclamation point. He sealed lead by dropping a 20-foot eagle putt that brought a big smile to his face.

Yesterday, Peter Hanson had shot eight-under and was the overnight leader. Today he played a balanced round (four birdies and four bogeys) for an even-par, staying at 8-under for the tournament and in solo second-place.

As for the battle for the Race to Dubai and the Money Title, today it was a reverse of fortunes for Luke Donald and Rory McIlroy. Like yesterday, the back-nine decided the fate of both players. Only on a different note this time.

They didn't play in the same group today. Donald teed-off first today and was paired with 2010 Open Champ Louis Oosthuizen, and McIlroy with Sergio Garcia. Donald had finished his round by the time McIlroy exited the front nine.

Donald was at-under through 15 holes. At that time, McIIroy was at seven-under and closing in on early leader Paul Lawrie. Then Donald started his climb up the leaderboard, as he finished the round with three straight birdies to move up to a T12.

Meanwhile, McIlroy had moved into a share of the lead (nine-under) with Lawrie after a birdie on the 11th hole. But, he made bogey on the next hole to drop a shot-back.

He was able to tap-in a birdie-putt on 14th to grab a share of the lead again, but after being masterful yesterday on the back-nine, he finished with back-to-back bogeys today. All three bogeys he made were on the back-nine.

That dropped him to seven-under and in a T3. He is five-shot behind Quiros and still could very well make up the difference over the weekend. But to win the Money Title, Donald would have needed to finish worse than T9 with one player.

Donald is just one shot behind the five players T7, and two behind the two players T5. The force seems to be with Luke at this moment.

But there are many other players playing the tournament. Robert Rock is the other player T3 at seven-under with McIlroy. He shot a three-under today and moved up two spots on the board.

Paul Casey started the day at even-par. He shot six-under today to move up 21 spots and be T5 with Paul Lawrie. Casey was playing a flawless round which included an eagle on the seventh hole. Until he had his lone bogey at 17th.

Lawrie was the early-round leader at 10-under after birdies on three of the first four holes. But a double-bogey at 12th and three-straight bogeys from the 15th hole dropped him to five-under. At least he was able to get back one shot with a birdie to close the round on 18th.

The group of five players T7 at five-under is comprised of Louis Oosthuizen, Pablo Larrazábal, Francesco Molinari, Shane Lowry and Jaco Van Zyl.

The rest of the top five in the Race to Dubai, Martin Kaymer (third) is T26 at even-par, Charl Schwartzel (fourth) is T12 at four-under ,and Lee Westwood (fifth) is T22 at two-under.

The biggest movers for the day were Fredrik Andersson Hed and Raphaël Jacquelin. Andersson Hed moved up 32 spots with his six-under today, and Jacquelin moved up 26 spots with a five-under today. Both players are now in a group of players T16 at three-under.

Simon Dyson starts the action tomorrow at 7:52 am PST local time (10:52 pm EST tonight). Other notable tee-times (all times local):

Time Pairing
9:35 am Martin Kaymer - Grégory Havret
10:55 am Lee Westwood - David Horsey
11:30 am Sergio Garcia - Fredrik Andersson Hed
11:40 am Charl Schwartzel - Johan Edfors
11:50 am Luke Donald - Jaco Van Zyl
12:10 pm Louis Oosthuizen - Pablo Larrazábal
12:20 pm Paul Casey - Paul Lawrie
12:30 pm Rory McIlroy - Robert Rock
12:40 pm Alvaro Quiros - Peter Hanson

- Carlos Torres


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