LONDON: Bryson DeChambeau may be at the top of the Dubai Desert Classic leaderboard, but it will take more than that for the American to be happy.
The US star shot another six-under 66 around the iconic Majlis course to head into the weekend on 12-under, tied with Australian Lucas Herbert.
After the first round, one that included six birdies and no bogeys, the perfectionist used the word “scrappy” to describe his game. And refusing to stray from script, the world No. 5 was again left to lament his game.
“Same thing,” DeChambeau replied when asked if he thought his game was not at its best during the second round.
“It didn’t feel like I had my A-game, even though I was getting it in the hole. That’s the name of the game — if you can hit it around (and still get in the hole) then its OK.
“(But) I want to have my best game, I want to be comfortable hitting shots, so that’s what I am working towards. I am still playing well and to finish with two birdies is always nice.”
When DeChambeau last played in the Major of the Middle East, this year celebrating its 30th birthday, he was ranked 530th in the world. Two years later, he is being talked about as a Major winner in waiting and has five PGA Tour wins under his belt — all won during a purple patch of 16 months.
In effect that run of good form continues today and the sight of the idiosyncratic American challenging for the Dubai title is no surprise. He has three top-10 finishes in his three tournaments on the PGA Tour this year, and is sounding and appearing as meticulous — some might say overly complicated — as ever.
“I’m pleased. I’m pleased that I’m playing golf. I’m getting it in the hole, executing the right shots when I need to and making a lot of key putts.
“I thought after yesterday getting it around and not making a bogey was awesome, but today it was even more impressive with three bogeys on the card to still shoot six-under. I just felt uncomfortable, unfortunately, and consequently I am not ball-striking my best. But I’m not complaining one bit.”
Ernie Els is one of the challengers trying to chase DeChambeau down. The South African turned back the clock as he shot a seven-under 65 to lie just a shot back. The four-time Major champion has won the Desert Classic three times, but has not challenged for a title in some time.
“I like this place, as you know,” Els said. “I’ve had some great times here. I’m swinging well, my body feels well. I’m just happy with the first two days.
“It’s great coming back, especially later in your career now. I meet up with friends I’ve met from 25 or 26 years ago, and in certain ways things don’t change, but in many ways they do.
“It’s just great to come back to Dubai and see the changes that have gone on here in the last quarter century.
“It has been amazing. I’m running out of time, but enjoying it,” Els said.
Bryson DeChambeau -12
Lucas Herbert -12
Alvaro Quiros -11
Ernie Els -11
Haotong Li -10
Matt Wallace -10
Callum Shinkwin -10
Matthieu Pavon -10
Jason Scrivener -10