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The opening round of this week's Desert Classic was delayed 30 minutes and has now been delayed another 30 minutes with the opening tee times now scheduled for 12:30 p.m. ET.

Fog delays are a regular occurrence for this part of the schedule. Gamers should expect plenty more of these delays over the next month. Many golfers are antsy to get their 2019 schedule started but they'll have to wait a bit longer. That includes Mike Weir who is making his first start since a missed cut at the Ellie Mae Classic at TPC Stonebrae ( Tour) in August. He is the first scheduled tee time on La Quinta Country Club today, set to peg it with fellow Canadian, David Hearn. Weir is 9-for-16 here in Palm Springs but he's missed the cut in his last five starts at the event. He went 1-for-6 on the PGA TOUR last season.
Jan 17 - 12:00 PM

Morgan Hoffmann shook off the competitive rust down on the Tour and finished T24 at The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic, his first start since last February.

Hoffmann started last season with a 3-for-9 record before shutting it down. Early in the season he found out he had muscular dystrophy and it wasn't trending in the right direction for him. After his last start (Honda Classic in late February) he took a trip to Nepal for a 90-day treatment program. It was a busy year for Hoffmann as he also launched his charity foundation and recently got engaged. Hoffmann has been granted a Major Medical Extension with 18 starts to earn 296.57 FedExCup Points. He is allotted a handful of Tour rehab starts if he wants them but with this week's T24 he may decide to ramp it up to the big stage sooner rather than later.
Jan 17 - 11:33 AM

Boo Weekley returned from a long injury layoff and finished T41 at The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay.

The 45-year-old has been out of action since the 2017 RBC Canadian Open. He had a mid-tourney WD just a month before that last start and cited tendinitis as the reason for his early exit. Making his first rehab start on the Tour, Weekley posted rounds of 74-67-70-73 this week. The three-time PGA TOUR winner finished 169th in the FedExCup standings during his last full season on TOUR (2016-17) so he'll need to rely on Past Champions status or sponsor's invites to get into fields on the big stage.
Jan 17 - 11:25 AM

Henrik Stenson labored to a 36-hole total of 2-under 142 which saw him miss the cut on his 2019 debut in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship at Abu Dhabi GC in the U.A.E..

The Swede was stymied by a pair of double bogeys in his first round (70), which wasted the four birdies he managed. In the second lap (72) he dropped just the one shot, but three par breakers was not enough with the course very susceptible to low scoring. It is his fifth missed cut in 14 starts on the course. Other notables that will join him in getting the weekend off include: 142- Robert Rock, Tyrrell Hatton, HaoTong Li … 143- Byeon Hun An ... 145- Thorbjorn Olesen ... 146- Paul Dunne ... 147- Kiradech Aphibarnrat ... 148- Andrew Johnston, Andrea Pavan.
Jan 17 - 9:37 AM

Dominic Foos conjured a 4-under-par 35-33=68 to hit the halfway stage of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship in the U.A.E. T9 on 8-under 136, four swings behind the leader Shane Lowry.

The youngest ever winner of a Challenge Tour event in 2015, having turned pro on his 17th birthday in 2014, he was a fine amateur (lowest ranked in his age group for his final three years at that level) and even finished T40 in the Nelson Mandela Championship aged 15. But three CT campaigns, despite four top three finishes, never got the German into the top 30 on the rankings. He plays this week on a National Spot (a glorified invite) and has the advantage of being attached to the nearby Els Club Dubai. So far he has taken advantage of both. As in round one he thrashed plenty of birdies. There were eight on Wednesday and six Thursday (at 4 and 8 on the front nine, 11, 13, 17 and 18 on the back); he dropped shots at the sixth and 16th. A golden opportunity awaits at the weekend for a youngster who is 4-for-20 at this level.
Jan 17 - 9:29 AM

Soren Kjeldsen hoisted a 3-under-par 35-34=69 in round two of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship that left him T5 on 9-under 135 and three swings behind the lead of Shane Lowry.

The Dane is enjoying his week at Abu Dhabi GC like few others in the past. After eight sub-70 laps in 40 circuits of the course he now has two in two, but if it feels reminiscent it might be because he has done that once before, when 69-69 left him T7 in 2011. However he’ll hope to kick on. That year he finished T37 and he still seeks a first top 20 on the track. After a nine birdie-three bogey scramble in round one, his second lap was a lot calmer. In fact he made eights pars and one birdie (at the second) on his front nine for a stark contrast. The back nine started in a rush with circled numbers at 10, 12 and 13, but he gave one of the shots back at the 15th.
Jan 17 - 9:15 AM

Richard Sterne authored a 4-under-par 33-35=68 that left him bogey-free after 36 holes of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, T2 on 11 under 133 alongside fellow South African Louis Oosthuizen and just two shots back of leader Shane Lowry.

The 37-year-old boasted a consistent 4-for-4 record at Abu Dhabi GC in the U.A.E. ahead of this week, but to be so high on the leaderboard is something is a break from tradition. Indeed he has a best of T19 (last year) and has only twice featured in the top ten at the end of any round. It is also 16 months since he last completed a top ten finish anywhere in the world so he will be keen to grasp the opportunity offered by his two flawless laps this week. On Thursday he ticked 10, 15 and 18 on his first nine, then added eight pars on the front nine before a final par-breaker at the ninth capped the 36 holes.
Jan 17 - 9:08 AM

Louis Oosthuizen cruised to a 4-under-par 33-35=68 which left him on 11-under 133 and T2 with compatriot Richard Sterne after 36 holes of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, one swing behind the leader Shane Lowry.

The South African headed into this year’s renewal at Abu Dhabi GC in the U.A.E. with a distinctly two tone course record which showed a light shade (T2-T5) and a dark tone too (T65-MC). So far this week he is on course for the former. He smoothed his way to the turn with six pars and three birdies (at 4, 7 and 8). But bogeys at both the tenth and 11th holes threatened to derail his title bid. However he was soon back on the front foot with back-to-back birdies at the 13th and 14th, plus a final red number at the 18th, closing the gap to the Irish leader to just one. Oosthuizen has grabbed all of his birdies on the front nine and last six holes, whilst dropping all four shots in the three holes after the turn. One to watch as the weekend.
Jan 17 - 8:56 AM

Tiger Woods has committed to play in his first event of 2019 as he prepares for next week's Farmers Insurance Open.

This was the likely landing spot for Woods but he made it somewhat official when he shared the news via social media, "Kicking off this season on the west coast at @FarmersInsOpen and my TGRF’s @GenesisOpen. Can’t wait!" Woods wants to avoid burnout as he saw toward the end of 2018 so gamers should expect to see a relatively light schedule in 2019. The Farmers Insurance Open field isn't official at this point but it's shaping up to be a very strong field with early commits from Justin Rose, Jason Day, Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, just to name a few. Woods is 15-for-17 at this event with seven wins but nothing inside the top 20 over his last four visits.
Jan 17 - 8:56 AM

Shane Lowry crafted a bounce back lap of 2-under-par 36-34=70 to set a new clubhouse target of 12-under 132 after 36 holes of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

Despite landing just four fairways in round one the Irishman had thrashed the Peter Harradine-designed Abu Dhabi GC in a mere 62 blows and early in his second circuit it seemed there was a regression to mean in the offing. He played the first, second and third holes in five strokes more than he needed Wednesday, taking a bogey-6 at the second and bogey-5 at the third. But he arrested the slide in fine fashion, ticking the fifth and seventh before the turn, then the 12th (from kick-in range) and 15th after it to re-establish the lead he had lost. When signing his card he had a one shot lead over Louis Oosthuizen (11-under) and two over Lee Westwood and Richard Sterne (10-under, the latter had two holes to play). Through these two rounds he is 6-under on the par-3s. T4 on debut at this course in 2010, this performance is a minor bolt from the blue because he missed the cut in his next three visits (and broke par just once in six laps).
Jan 17 - 8:29 AM

Grant Forrest fired the joint-lowest score on the second morning of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship in the United Arab Emirates, a bogey-free 7-under-par 33-32=65 taking him to 8-under 136 at the midpoint and just two behind the clubhouse target of Lee Westwood.

That's a huge jump of 56 spots on the live leaderboard to T6 with the afternoon session in the early stages. The Scotsman secured a debut season on the European Tour after finishing inside the top 15 in the Challenge Tour Rankings in 2018. Forrest got to work early by playing four times before the Christmas break and was 2-for-4 with a T7 in Mauritius helping him to 31st on the current Race to Dubai. He now has a great chance to add some serious points by cashing in on this promising start. For six holes today, nothing was happening as he strung together a string of pars to remain at 1-under. But a birdie at 7 proved the catalyst and he banked five straight, adding another pair of circles at 14 and 15. Forrest carded a 62 on the Challenge Tour in October and a 65 in that top ten in Mauritius so he's certainly capable of going low.
Jan 17 - 4:46 AM

Tom Lewis handed in a clean card for the second day running at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, a bogey-free 5-under-par 33-34=67 on Thursday morning taking him to 9-under 135 after 36 holes and just one behind Lee Westwood's clubhouse lead.

The Englishman is T2 on the live board although he'd expect to drop a few with birdies still flying in everywhere and the afternoon wave starting to make a move. Lewis enjoyed his best campaign on the European Tour last season, finishing 41st on the Race to Dubai. His surge back up the world rankings (now 72nd) included a T7 at the closing DP World Tour Championship which was something of a breakthrough as his previous desert form was poor. He's shaking off that perception again this week and set the tone today with eagle-3 out of the gate at 10. Lewis added birdies at 15, 3 and 7 (holed a bomb) to move his way up the leaderboard and can now look forward to another weekend title challenge.
Jan 17 - 4:33 AM

Scott Jamieson matched his best round at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship after hoisting up a bogey-free 6-under-par 31-35=66 in round two to reach 9-under 135 at the midpoint.

That's good enough for T2 on the live leaderboard with the afternoon session just getting underway and a single stroke back from pacesetter Lee Westwood. Jamieson is only 2-for-6 in this event with just two rounds in the 60s (both in R3 which could bode well for tomorrow) but one of those was a 66 in 2016 when he posted T46. He equalled that today although it looked as if he could knock a few shots off it after posting five red circles in his opening ten holes. That included a run of four straight from Nos. 2-5. The Scot finished 2018 off with a top three in the Alfred Dunhill Championship in South Africa so this is very much a continuation of that form.
Jan 17 - 4:21 AM

An early start didn't stop jet-lagged Ian Poulter keeping up his bid for the trophy at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship as he pieced together a 3-under-par 32-37=69 on day two to reach 9-under 135 at the midpoint, just a shot behind clubhouse leader Lee Westwood and T2 on the live board with the afternoon session in play.

After flying in from Hawaii, Poulter said after his opening 66 that he felt tired towards the end of his first round. A very similar story played out today. Starting at 07:30 from the 10th, the Englishman made four birdies in his first seven holes after ticking 10, 13, 15 and 16. That put him into a tie for the lead but the spark went after that. The World No. 38 parred the next ten holes and then found water at the par-4 9th, suffering a walk-off bogey. However, two strong rounds mean Poulter will have a late tee-time in Friday's third round so he has plenty of chance now to catch up on some shuteye.
Jan 17 - 4:09 AM

Lee Westwood crafted a bogey-free 4-under-par 34-34=68 in his second round at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship in the United Arab Emirates, posting the 36-hole lead of 10-under 134 after the completion of the morning wave on day two.

Right now, that puts the Englishman in a tie for the lead with overnight leader Shane Lowry, who has just started, while it's one clear in the clubhouse of Ian Poulter and Scott Jamieson. Westwood birdied his opening hole, the 10th, but couldn't match the blistering start he enjoyed in yesterday's 66. In fact, over the next 15 holes his only deviations from par were a pair of birdie-2s at 15 and 4. But with no bogeys on his card today and just one all week, every birdie counted and he added a final red circle at the par-5 8th. It's very unlikely he'll end the day on top but Westwood is in a great place for another big weekend challenge.
Jan 17 - 4:00 AM

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