Abu Dhabi: Germany's Martin Kaymer mastered a wet and wild Abu Dhabi Championship on Friday, opening a three-shot lead after the second round while three-time Major winner Padraig Harrington was sensationally disqualified.
Kaymer shot a superb bogey-free seven-under par 65, with most of his round being played in a drizzle and windy conditions, which made the National Course play a lot longer.
The world number three is 12-under 132 at the halfway stage, enjoying a three-shot lead on overnight leader Charl Schwartzel of South Africa, who shot a 71.
Graeme McDowell continued his superb run of form and a solid round of 70 gave him the sole possession of third place, four shots behind Kaymer.
World number one Lee Westwood survived a horrific back nine with two double bogeys and a bogey to finish at even par.
The second round could not be completed Friday, and three groups will have to come back early Saturday morning. The cut is presently at even-par 144.
Defending champion Kaymer, who made seven birdies in the round, five of which came in the first seven holes, could overtake Tiger Woods as the world number two if he manages to win a third Abu Dhabi title.
However, such thoughts were far from Kaymer's thoughts as he concentrated on the job at hand.
"It's not going to change anything for me. I mean, if I get really close to Lee, I think, yeah, of course I want to catch him," said Kaymer.
"I think every tournament I will play this year, at least at the beginning of the season you will have those numbers. If you finish here and there, you can get up to number two, or you can be number one in the world.”
"Of course, if I get up to number two, I want to get up to number one. But it's not my biggest goal for this year."
Masters champion Phil Mickelson improved with a 70 but was nine behind the leader at 141, while it should be an early exit for British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen, who finished at 145, the same as England's Ian Poulter, the runner-up last year.
Meanwhile, Harrington was disqualified for signing a wrong card in his seven under par first round of 65.
The Irishman's tournament came to a premature end after a television viewer alerted European Tour officials to a possible rules infringement on the seventh green.
While marking his ball on the green during Thursday's opening round Harrington's fingers inadvertently brushed the ball, which moved by an almost indiscernible distance, but enough to show up on the high-definition telecast.
After reviewing the tapes along with Harrington, the world No 26 accepted the punishment.
Harrington said: "I clearly remember on the seventh green yesterday (Thursday) when I was picking the coin up, I touched the ball.”
"At that moment I established that the ball hadn't moved.”
"I was well aware that I touched it, so I checked that the Titleist logo with which I align my ball was still in the same position pointing toward the target. I was quite comfortable that the ball had not moved.”
"This morning I came in and watched it on the TV. I think with an unbiased view of it, I would comfortably say 99 percent, the ball moved three dimples forward and moved back a dimple, a dimple and a half.”
"It looks like it's moved, so I'm happy it has. I think it's fair enough that the penalty is there on the face of it."
The incident was reminiscent of the Colombian Camilo Villegas' disqualification from the season-opening PGA Tour event in Hawaii a fortnight back.
Harrington's 65 had left him placed second, one shot behind Schwartzel overnight.
First Published: Saturday, January 22, 2011, 09:14