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Aussie Scrivener hunts Hatton in Abu Dhabi

Tyrrell Hatton has taken charge in the weather-affected Abu Dhabi Championship, opening up a five-shot lead over the field.

After a long, arduous Friday, though, Australia’s Jason Scrivener is among the Englishman’s nearest challengers, lying joint second alongside three other players, including Rory McIlroy.

McIlroy carded a career-best 64 in the opening round and birdied two of his first three holes on Friday, but played his next 11 in three over par before play was suspended due to darkness, a legacy of Thursday’s lengthy fog delay.

Playing in the group behind, Hatton took full advantage with his third eagle of the week on the par-five second and four birdies in a row from the seventh, the world No.9 reaching the 14th hole before play was halted.

At 12-under, Hatton is five ahead of Scrivener, Jazz Janewattananond and Romain Langasque, with Tommy Fleetwood, Matt Wallace and Marc Warren among a large group on six-under.

Scrivener, who hasn’t played since a tournament in Cyprus in November, showed no signs of ring rust after having to play 28 holes on Friday.

The 31-year-old Perth player had managed only eight holes on a fog-shortened Thursday so had an early start before completing his opening round with four birdies to finish with a five-under 67.

He then posted a 70 in his second round to take the mantle as leading Australian from Lucas Herbert, who was a shot behind at six-under after 10 holes of his second round when bad light forced an early suspension of play.

“I’m obviously in a great position at the moment,” said Hatton, who won the Arnold Palmer Invitational and BMW PGA Championship last year.

“It was certainly tough out there so I’m really happy to be five-under for the round.”

Defending champion Lee Westwood bogeyed the 13th and 14th before play was suspended to lie nine shots off the lead on three-under, with playing partner and world No.3 Justin Thomas on the projected cut mark of one-under.

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