Amateur ace shares halfway lead at Hero Dubai Desert Classic

Amateur Michael Thorbjornsen carded an eagle, seven birdies and one bogey to take a share of the lead at the halfway stage of the Hero Dubai Desert Classic.

The American, who is currently second in the World Amateur Golf Rankings, started at the tenth tee on Saturday and made five birdies in his first six holes before chipping in for a brilliant eagle at the long 18th to join Thomas Pieters and Richard Bland at the summit of the leaderboard.

“It feels good, I didn’t have the best round yesterday and then day before, felt like I missed a lot of putts out there,” said Thorbjornsen.

“Thought I had a pretty good game plan but just stuck to it today. I actually made some putts.

“I enjoy playing professional golf a lot and I’m still an amateur but just the golf courses that we play, the crowd out there, it’s what I’m dreaming of ever since I was five or six years old. It just feels good to be out there.

After suffering the disappointment of missing the cut at last week’s Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship as his title defence fell flat, Pieters bounced back superbly on the Majlis course at Emirates Golf,  Club, producing fireworks late in his second round with seven birdies on the back nine to share the lead.

“There’s no stress levels,” said the Belgian.

“I was just really angry after nine. It wasn’t really stress. I was just trying to get back into my round. But it’s nice to see your name up at the top.”

Englishman Bland, who had made three birdies in the first four holes of his second round before play was suspended due to fading light on Friday, carded three more birdies and a solitary bogey in his remaining 14 holes on Saturday morning to sign for a second straight 67.

Swede Marcus Kinhult, Scotland’s Connor Syme and Spaniard Adri Arnaus sat one shot off the lead on nine under, with World Number One Rory McIlroy among those another stroke back.

Round three will tee off at 07:10 local time on Sunday, with round four scheduled for Monday.

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