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DP World Tour: Scott Jamieson’s late birdie keeps his nose in front in blustery Abu Dhabi

Scott Jamieson battled against the unexpected elements to maintain his lead in Abu Dhabi.

Conditions were ‘windier than Scotland’ but Scott Jamieson was still able to keep his nose just in front of a stellar field at the halfway mark of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

The 38-year-old from Glasgow, now based in Florida, shot a two-over 74 on the Yas Links which left him maintaining the shot lead on Viktor Hovland (also 74) at seven-under.

Ian Poulter, grinding as only he can, shot a par 72 to join the group in second, while James Morrison was also on six-under with four to play when play was suspended.

Delays throughout the day as winds gusted to 40mph and a surprisingly low temperature made this feel more like Kyle Phillips’ other course, Kingsbarns, at Dunhill Links time. Those gusts were the main issue for the field, according to Jamieson.

‘The hardest thing is putting’

“It certainly wasn’t easy,” he said. “We knew the forecast. When you’re in your hotel room in the morning and the locker room and it’s a clear day it feels like it’ll be a little easier but then you experience it and get out there.

“Hitting shots is tricky with all the gusts but the hardest thing is putting. You get over the ball and you feel like you’ve got to be so tense to stop everything moving but that’s the worst thing you can do when you’re trying to putt.

“Two days they haven’t cut the greens. The ball was oscillating a lot, and you’re trying to keep your balance.”

Jamieson had one really bad hole – taking four to get down from the back of the greens at the first (his tenth) for a six. That brought him back to six-under and sharing the lead with Hovland and Poulter, who had played in the morning wave.

However that was the last damage of the day and he edged in front with a superb tee shot and eight-foot birdie putt at the short eighth.

“I holed a lot of really good putts from inside five feet today which kept my score respectable,” he said.

“The first was the only hole that I really kind of chucked a couple away, but it’s so easily done. You’ve got to just get on with it.

“It was windier than Scotland, and it was blooming cold. This isn’t what I expected. I knew it was going to be windy but thought it would still be short sleeves.”

‘You don’t practise this’

Poulter had two three-putts but that was all down to the wind, something he thought the field wouldn’t expect at this venue and time of year.

“You don’t get to play in this kind of wind very often, especially when you’ve had nine weeks off,” he said.

“You don’t really go and practise in it. To get this thrown at you early in the season is tricky. You were thinking, it’s been a while since I’ve had to hit those type of shots.

“But in a way, it’s actually quite nice. Chip-in 7-irons from 120 and hitting 3-woods from 217. You know, you’ve got to go into the archive and remember some of the shots you’ve played in the past.”

Hovland’s trademark smile was missing as he battled, but he was able to see the bright side at the end.

“I’m in a good spot but there’s still plenty of guys around – a lot of Brits and Scottish men that play in this weather all the time!” he said. “I’m liking my position right now and we’ll see what happens.”

Sore day for MacIntyre

Denmark’s Jeff Winther has the best round of the day at 69, but a lot of notable names slid away.

Robert MacIntyre toiled to an 80 with three double bogeys, including a trip into the water with his third shot at 18. That will definitely mean a missed cut to start his season.

David Law (75) and Ewen Ferguson (74) both had solid rounds to comfortably make the weekend. Richie Ramsay (76) and Connor Syme (77) were left sweating right on the cut mark with around 40 players still to finish.

DP World Tour: Scott Jamieson makes a record start to the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

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