(Reuters) - France’s Mike Lorenzo-Vera carded a three-under-par 69 to grab a three-shot lead at the season-ending DP World Tour Championship on Friday, while Race to Dubai contenders Tommy Fleetwood and Jon Rahm remain in the hunt heading into the weekend.
Lorenzo-Vera, who shook off the effects of a lung infection to open up a one-shot advantage on Thursday, dropped two shots in the final four holes of the second round but still managed to set a clubhouse target at 12-under at Jumeirah Golf Estates.
England’s Fleetwood, who won the Nedbank Golf Challenge last weekend to step up his pursuit of the season-ending European number one crown, sank seven birdies in a round of 68 to claim a share of the second spot.
“It’s just a classic case of trying to stay in the moment and take each shot as it comes,” said Fleetwood, bidding for his second Race to Dubai title in three years.
“There’s a lot going on over the weekend, there’s a lot of different scenarios and players in the mix.
“There’s a lot of things going on around you so the more internally focused you can be and the more you can just stay in your bubble, it will just be a great challenge going into the weekend trying to do that.”
Rahm is also one of the five players who can finish at the top of the European Tour’s money list on Sunday and the Spaniard signed for a 69 to sit alongside Fleetwood on the leaderboard.
Austria’s Bernd Wiesberger, the current leader of the Race to Dubai standings, was tied for 13th and nine shots off the lead.
World number two Rory McIlroy failed to build on a stellar opening round display as he dropped to a share of fifth at six-under after making just two birdies in the second round.
The Northern Irishman started with a double bogey at the par-three sixth and, after carding a brilliant eagle on the 18th on Thursday, hit the tee shot into the water on Friday to settle for a par on the last.
“I just wasn’t quite there,” said McIlroy, who is making his final appearance of the year before taking a two-month break.
“The wind was tricky and the course played a little trickier, but obviously I just didn’t quite play as well as yesterday. It’s a very fickle game.
“I’ve always said that one day it can seem very easy and someone up there says ‘no, not so fast’, and brings you back down to earth. That’s golf!”
McIlroy, a three-times Race to Dubai champion, finished with a 74, 10 shots worse than his opener.
Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge