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Morikawa could miss cut as winds cause havoc in Abu Dhabi

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Collin Morikawa was facing just his second missed cut in 15 months as strong winds off the Persian Gulf caused havoc during the second round at the Abu Dhabi Championship on Friday.

The No. 2-ranked Morikawa shot 2-over 74, adding to his 73 in the first round, to leave the British Open champion on 3 over for the tournament. That was two strokes below the current projected cut midway through the second round.

Yet the conditions at Yas Links — amid winds of 35 mph (56 mph), balls occasionally struggled to come to a stop on the undulating greens and were rolling off fairways into the rough — were likely to lead to high scores for the rest of the day at the European tour’s first event of 2022.

Even No. 7-ranked Viktor Hovland, with two wins from his last three events, could only shoot 74, which was 10 shots worse than the Norwegian’s first-round score.

“It was a tough day. It was a really difficult wind, blowing as much as it is,” Hovland said.

“You are always playing defensive on every single shot. So it’s just a really grindy day.”

However, Hovland was well-positioned heading into the weekend in a tie for second place at 6 under overall with Ian Poulter, who shot an even-par 72. No player shot lower than Poulter among the early starters.

“It was dicey, hitting some pins on the edge of the water,” Poulter said. “In some cases you enjoy it, sometimes it’s miserable.”

Morikawa, playing the first event in his defense of the Race to Dubai title, had only missed one cut since October 2020. That came at The Northern Trust in August.

Scott Jamieson, a Scot ranked No. 336, led after shooting 63 in the first round. He was out in the afternoon, as well as Rory McIlroy and defending champion Tyrrell Hatton.

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