Larrazábal leads by 3 at European Tour season opener

The Associated Press
Pablo Larrazabal of Spain, tees off at the 10th hole in round one of the Abu Dhabi Championship golf tournament in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Wednesday, January 16, 2019. (AP/Martin Dokoupil)
Pablo Larrazabal of Spain, tees off at the 10th hole in round one of the Abu Dhabi Championship golf tournament in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Wednesday, January 16, 2019. (AP/Martin Dokoupil)

MALELANE, South Africa (AP) -- Pablo Larrazábal opened a healthy three-shot lead after two rounds of the European Tour’s season-opening Alfred Dunhill Championship in South Africa on Friday.

The Spaniard carded a 69 to go 9 under par overall and ahead of first-round leader Wil Besseling (73) and home favorite Branden Grace (70).

Larrazábal was one of just five players to break 70 on a hot, windy day at Leopard Creek Country Club.

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Larrazábal had a run of four straight birdies from Nos. 10-13 to respond to a double bogey on the par-3 No. 7 when he sent his tee shot right of the green and into the water. The birdie on No. 12 came when Larrazábal holed a 100-foot putt from one end of the green to the other.

This is the first European Tour event to allow players to wear shorts during the tournament because of the heat but Larrazábal declined to take advantage of that in the first two rounds, saying he felt more like he meant business in trousers.

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