Thomas Aiken shares lead with Hillier and Tarrio after marathon day at Qatar Masters

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Thomas Aiken held a share of the lead with Santiago Tarrio and Daniel Hillier after a marathon second day at the Qatar Masters on Friday.

The South African was the only one of the trio to finish his second round before play was suspended because of fading light.

Aiken was one of the 66 players who still had to finish their opening round after play had been suspended on Thursday because of lightning. The 40-year-old veteran made 13 birdies and two bogeys in 31 holes for rounds of 69 and 65 to reach 10 under at Doha Golf Club.

“I played really solid today. We had 31 holes to play, so it was a long day. Early wake-up call,” said Aiken, who is battling to keep his European tour card. “It’s getting a little tougher to play in your 40s, but I still feel like I can win out here. I just need the right golf course.

“Unfortunately I haven’t been able to pick and choose my courses this year … but this is definitely one where I’ve always done well in the past. It’s proving evident, so hopefully the form continues over the next two rounds.”

Hillier will have a birdie putt and the chance to take the outright lead when he resumes at the 12th early Saturday, while Tarrio has six holes left to play.

Defending champion Ewen Ferguson and Robert MacIntyre were a shot further back after nine holes of their second rounds. Edoardo Molinari, who has seven holes remaining, was also at 9 under.

The best round of the day — and the week so far — came from John Catlin, whose flawless 63 was an incredible 14-shot improvement on his opening 77.

“It was one of those days where I found a little something before I went out and played, I was just sitting in the lounge thinking about stuff,” the American said. “Haven’t really played my best this year and it was like ‘You know what? Let’s try a little something.’

“I tried a little something on the putting green and all of a sudden putts started going in, and because they started going in I started feeling more confident with my irons. Weird how golf is.”


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