Halfway leader Antoine Rozner vows to ‘stay aggressive’ at Dubai Championship

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Defending champion Antoine Rozner holds the halfway lead in the AVIV Dubai Championship (Mike Egerton/PA) (PA Archive)
Defending champion Antoine Rozner holds the halfway lead in the AVIV Dubai Championship (Mike Egerton/PA) (PA Archive)

Defending champion Antoine Rozner vowed to maintain his aggressive approach after claiming a one-shot lead at the halfway stage of the AVIV Dubai Championship.

Rozner, who has not dropped a shot over the first two days, birdied six of his last eight holes to add a second round of 64 to his opening 65 and reach 15 under par, a shot ahead of JB Hansen and Francesco Laporta.

Finland’s Kalle Samooja is a shot further back, with the English pair of Tommy Fleetwood and Paul Waring three off the lead on 12 under.

Rozner, who shot 25 under on the Fire Course at Jumeirah Golf Estates to win his maiden European Tour title last year, said: “I think I was playing really well, even on the front nine, but a few putts didn’t drop.

“I just kept putting myself in good positions hole after hole and a few putts dropped on the back nine which was great. It was definitely one of my best ball-striking rounds out here.

“My long game was perfect, I was striping it shot after shot. I missed one green on 17 and that was the only hole I put myself in trouble but I got away with it with a good par.

“Stay aggressive is the mindset, you have be aggressive over and over. I did that really well last year, obviously I can use that experience from last year and that’s helping me.

France’s Antoine Rozner holds a one-shot lead at the halfway stage of the AVIV Dubai Championship (Adam Davy/PA) (PA Archive)
France’s Antoine Rozner holds a one-shot lead at the halfway stage of the AVIV Dubai Championship (Adam Davy/PA) (PA Archive)

“Last year I was so aggressive over four rounds and I think it’s paying off this week so if I keep doing what I’m doing over the next two days, hopefully there will be a good result in there.”

Fleetwood was one over par after six holes but played the last 12 in seven under to card a second consecutive 66 as he bids to become the fourth member of Europe’s Ryder Cup team – after Matt Fitzpatrick Rory McIlroy and Viktor Hovland – to win a tournament since the record defeat at Whistling Straits.

“It was a poor start,” Fleetwood said. “I missed a chance on the first and then missed a short putt (on the second). On such a low-scoring course if you have a dry patch it feels so much worse.

“I holed a putt on seven and played really, really well coming in and had plenty of chances. I felt like I did a good job of continuing to play and hitting good golf shots.

“I didn’t get panicked or frustrated that I hadn’t had the start I would like and then it all came together, which doesn’t always happen. But it did and it was another good day.”

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