Scrivener second in Abu Dhabi chasing first DP World Tour win - PGA of Australia

Scrivener second in Abu Dhabi chasing first DP World Tour win

West Australian Jason Scrivener is placed to push for a breakthrough DP World Tour victory through two rounds of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship in Abu Dhabi.

Two bogeys in his opening five holes was not the ideal start to Scrivener’s second round at Yas Links but back-to-back birdies at 14 and 15 helped him to post two-under 70 and nine-under total.

He sits just one shot back of Italian pair Francesco Molinari (67) and Guido Migliozzi (69) while fellow Australian Min Woo Lee (69) pushed inside the top 10 at seven-under par and just three off the lead.

A runner-up finish in this event two years ago is one of seven top-three finishes Scrivener has logged on the DP World Tour and he is excited to be in position to earn that first win heading into the weekend.

“This is what we play for, really, to be in this position and have a chance to win a golf tournament. Looking forward to it,” Scrivener said.

The 33-year-old is making his first start for 2023 but credits the opportunity to start his DP World Tour season on home soil for getting out of the blocks well.

After a break at home in Perth he finished second behind Cameron Smith at the Fortinet Australian PGA Championship and followed that with a tie for 18th at the ISPS HANDA Australian Open.

“For me, it was just nice to play golf in Australia again,” he added.

“It had been three years since I’d played a competitive tournament there.

“It was really nice to go back home and see family and friends and stay sharp as well.”

Lee was another to benefit from the two DP World Tour co-sanctioned events in Australia prior to Christmas.

The world No.58 finished top five at both tournaments and with rounds of 68-69 has carried that form into the new year.

Kiwi Ryan Fox is tied with Lee at seven-under after a second round of six-under 66 as he tries to replicate a career year in 2022.

Fox finished second on the DP World Tour rankings behind Rory McIlroy and says he starts the year with a greater sense of confidence in what he can produce.

“I just feel like I’m a much better golfer than I was at the sort of start of last year and have got a fair bit more confidence in my game,” said Fox, a two-time winner in 2022.

“I know that there’s not as many weaknesses as there was a few years ago. Like yesterday, I hit it awful but I could rely on my short game and my putter, and I couldn’t have done that in the past.

“It’s nice to see everything turning in the right direction like that.

“Hopefully I can have a similar sort of year this year as I had last year.”

With one round to go before the second cut of the top 70 players and ties, eight Aussies currently sit inside the cut-line at Final Stage of Asian Tour Qualifying School in Thailand.

Tied for third and five shots back, John Lyras (67) leads the Aussie charge, two shots clear of South Australian Jack Thompson who surged into the top 10 with a round of seven-under 65.

Doug Klein (T12, 68), Kiwis Denzel Ieremia (T12, 70) and Nick Voke (T23, 67), Louis Dobbelaar (T39, 70), Dimitrios Papadatos (T52, 67), Hayden Hopewell (T52, 70), Peter Wilson (T52, 72), Aaron Wilkin (T52, 75) and Jack Murdoch (T65, 69) are inside the number through three rounds.

Dylan Perry (T74, 71), Kade McBride (T85, 69), Connor McKinney (T85, 70), Tom Power Horan (T97, 70) and Deyen Lawson (T97, 73) can move inside the top 70 with a good round on Saturday.

At the Legends Tour Qualifying School in Turkey Guy Wall, the lone Australian in the field, is in a tie for 32nd after an opening round of one-over 73.

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