Rory McIlroy targets big finish in Dubai after a 67
Henrik Stenson still in pole position at Earth Course after a second round of 64
Stenson admitted he is battling fatigue from a long season as well as an ongoing wrist injury, but added: “The two days I had off on Monday and Tuesday have helped. I got the club stuck in the ground on the sixth tee and felt it there but thankfully I don’t think that made it flare up.”
Canizares has won just once on the European Tour — the Russian Open in 2006 — but boosted his chances of a second title with a brilliant par save on the 18th. Rose and Poulter have not given up their pursuit of Stenson, but Rose admitted the 7,600-yard course is “tailor-made” for the likes of Stenson and McIlroy thanks to their length off the tee.
The man McIlroy succeeded as European number one, Luke Donald, is a shot behind hte Holywood golfer after a 66 that contained six birdies in succession from the second. Donald, who only scraped into an event limited to the top 60 players on the European Tour money list in 59th place, became the first man to win the money list titles on both sides of the Atlantic in the same season in 2011 and was world number one as recently as August 2012, but has slumped to 17th in the rankings.
The 35-year-old recently started working with US PGA champion Jason Dufner’s coach Chuck Cook in an attempt to regain top form and admits he cannot wait to see the back of 2013.
“I’m looking forward to a fresh start,” Donald said. “There’s something about when that date changes (to January 1) and you can start over. Thirteen has not been a lucky number for me. The last two years I had a chance to win the Race to Dubai. This year the only thing to play for is winning this tournament. A win would dramatically change my confidence and it takes one week to turn around a year.
“I have gone through a couple of changes in my swing and was expecting everything to click into place quickly. The swing is starting to bed in and my goal is to be ready by April next year (in time for the US Masters) and have a good season.”