European Tour: Dubai Desert Classic 2nd Round Play Resumes Saturday

European Tour Dubai Desert Classic 2nd round play resumes early Saturday morning. George Coetzee holds a 1 shot clubhouse lead.

European Tour officials had their hands full on Friday in Dubai. Roofs were flying off tv towers. Balls blew around the greens at the Emirates Golf Club. One even blew into a bunker! Trees toppled. In short, winds gusting up to near 40 mph made conditions at the Dubai Desert Classic unsafe and 2nd round play was suspended.

We saw this one tree go down. You get a warning from the chairman, it’s about to collapse and start squeaking. I was walking under the trees hearing the squeaking and thinking, this could be me. It’s a little bit dangerous out there with the trees collapsing and stuff. Hopefully tomorrow will be better. – George Coetzee

Tournament director Mike Stewart says 2nd round play is scheduled to begin at 7:30am (local time) Saturday and 3rd round play will will start shortly after noon, with three-ball starts off two tees.

Although Tiger Woods didn’t make the 2nd round start and probably wouldn’t have made the cut if he had played the 2nd round. However, George Coetzee did and in a dominant fashion. The South African, who didn’t make it into my top 10 power rankings (how did I miss him?), opened his round by firing off a pair of birdies and then a third, quickly grabbing a two shot lead over Sergio Garcia that dropped to a single shot before play was suspended.

Rafa Cabrera Bello, Henrik Stenson and Martin Kaymer, hot names in my original power rankings, also sit on the front page of the mid-2nd round leaderboard.

Like Coetzee, Kaymer started with birdies on the tenth and 11th but dropped a shot on the 15th before picking it back up on the 18th. The 2014 US Open champion notched back-to-back birdies on the second and third. A second bogey of the day on the seventh put him in the house at 4-under and trailing Coetzee, who has still to complete his 2nd round, by 5 shots.

Advantage Coetzee.

Given the very difficult conditions, Cabrera Bello started strong, heading for a bogey-free effort with gains on the tenth, 13th, second and third. Then the problems started for the Spaniard. He dropped a shot on the sixth and he, too, ended at 4-under and trailing the leader by 5 shots.

Stenson was philosophical about his round and the conditions.

It was definitely the worst conditions I’ve ever played golf in in Dubai, I know that much. It was blowing very hard, a lot of dust in the air, trees coming down. You can’t control the weather, unfortunately, and we’ll be back to play some more golf tomorrow. – Henrik Stenson

For US fans, Golf Channel will provide coverage of the European Tour Dubai Desert Classic beginning at 4:30am ET on Saturday and continuing through 9am ET.

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