Date: January 18, 2014
Author: Sportal, Omnisport

Lee, Cabrera-Bello take charge in Abu Dhabi

Craig Lee and Rafael Cabrera-Bello share the lead at the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, while Henrik Stenson missed the cut on Friday.

Scotsman Lee and Cabrera-Bello of Spain are nine under at the halfway point of the Abu Dhabi Golf Club event, giving them a lead of one shot.

England's Danny Willett is snapping at their heels after a stunning 63, while Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy, Argentinian Ricardo Gonzalez and Dane Thomas Bjorn are a shot further adrift at the European Tour tournament.

"I am playing well, putting good, and putting the ball in play, hitting the fairways and so I'm feeling confident," Cabrera-Bello told the European Tour's official website.

"Pretty much I'm just happy with the way I'm playing with all of the clubs in the bag. There's nothing that I'm complaining about at the moment."

Cabrera-Bello hit six birdies and two bogeys in his 68, while Lee carded seven birdies in a 67.

Willett was the star of the day, though, hitting seven birdies and one eagle in a blemish-free 63 that saw him storm up the leaderboard.

Gonzalez shot 66 and McIlroy and Bjorn both hit 67, with the two-time major winner particularly impressing playing partner Phil Mickelson.

"The back nine was really impressive (from McIlroy), a beautiful nine holes of golf," Mickelson said.

"He is really striking the ball well. His game looks really sharp and his driving was impeccable."

McIlroy missed the cut at the same tournament last year, fate suffered by Stenson and Padraig Harrington, who has also won two majors.

Stenson – who enjoyed a superb 2013 in which he won the FedEx Cup and the European Tour's Race to Dubai – finished at two over, missing the cut by two strokes.

It is the first time Stenson has missed the cut at a European Tour tournament in 469 days.

Harrington was unluckier, finishing just one shot above the cut.

At the other end of the leaderboard, Englishman Tommy Fleetwood, South African George Coetzee and Dutchman Joost Luiten are tied for seventh at six under, three shots off the pace.

Defending champion Jamie Donaldson of Wales shot a one-under 70 on Friday and is eight strokes off the lead.