Martin Kaymer seized the lead Friday at the HSBC Championship, as he shot a second-round, six-under 66 to overtake Henrik Stenson at Abu Dhabi Golf Club in the United Arab Emirates.
Kaymer entered the day two shots behind Stenson, but he now holds a one-shot lead over Rafa Cabrera Bello at 12-under heading into the weekend, as seen in this leaderboard rundown courtesy of EuropeanTour.com:
|HSBC Golf Championship 2017 Leaderboard Thru 2nd Round|
|2||Rafa Cabrera Bello||-11||67||66|
The 32-year-old German is a three-time winner and one-time runner-up at the event, and his history of success at the course served him well Friday, as he carded one eagle and six birdies in the round.
Arguably his most impressive shot of the day occurred on No. 14, as he chipped in for his fourth birdie in five holes, as seen in this video courtesy of the European Tour:
The former PGA Championship and U.S. Open winner closed his round strong, and a lengthy birdie putt on No. 16 pulled him into a tie for the lead with Cabrera Bello:
Kaymer had an opportunity to enter the clubhouse with the outright lead if he could manage a birdie on the 18th, and he did precisely that to take sole possession of first place.
Cabrera Bello led the pack for much of the round by virtue of a six-under 66 that featured seven birdies and just one bogey.
All areas of the Spaniard's game appeared to be working, including this well-played birdie on the par-three 15th:
Cabrera Bello also birdied No. 16 to get to 11-under, and although he enters the third round in second place, he was happy with his performance:
Kaymer and Cabrera Bello were two of several golfers to shoot a 66 Friday, but neither of them managed to card the low round of the day.
That honor went to Australia's Curtis Luck, who is one of only two amateurs in the field.
Luck shot a seven-under 65 to move to seven-under for the tournament, which is a continuation of his penchant for performing well on big stages, per Sean Martin of PGATour.com:
Luck was joined at seven-under by England's Chris Paisley and fellow Aussie Sam Brazel, both of whom are four shots off the pace at eight-under.
Stenson fired the low round of the tournament thus far on Monday with an eight-under 64, but a mediocre one-under 71 in the second round dropped him into a tie for sixth and has him three shots behind the leader.
Some other big names are further down the leaderboard in the form of Americans Dustin Johnson and Rickie Fowler.
They have had identical starts to the tournament with an even-par 72 apiece in the first round followed by matching four-under 68 rounds Friday.
DJ played a clean round with no bogeys and four birdies, the first of which came on the fifth hole thanks to this remarkable save:
Fowler enjoyed a four-hole birdie streak, including a long-range putt on No. 11:
Both Johnson and Fowler have a ton of ground to make up over the next two days, though, due to hot starts from Kaymer, Cabrera Bello and several others.
The first two rounds have shown that low scores are there for the taking, which means the potential is there for someone to come from off the pace to win.
Based on Kaymer's history of success in Abu Dhabi, however, he is the unquestioned favorite entering the weekend.
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