Golf: Varner, Arnaus share lead after second round in Saudi International

American Harold Varner III (above) and Spain’s Adri Arnaus finished two shots clear of Australia’s Cameron Smith and American Matthew Wolff.

JEDDAH (REUTERS) - American Harold Varner III and Spain's Adri Arnaus shared a two-shot lead at the halfway stage of the Saudi International event near Jeddah after both carded a four-under-par 66 on Friday (Feb 4).

The pair, who upstaged many of the more high-profile players, finished the second round at 10-under for the tournament, two shots clear of Australia's Cameron Smith and American Matthew Wolff.

Britain's Tommy Fleetwood was a shot further back after carding a 67 on another windy day at Royal Greens Golf & Country Club.

"I played really solid," said Varner, who hit six birdies and two bogeys.

"It wasn't blowing as hard this morning, so I didn't think it was gettable, but obviously in my group it was pretty gettable, so just trying to hang in there and just give myself a chance."

Big-hitting Arnaus said he knew how to deal with windy conditions, having previously played at the course.

"I've been playing this course now for a few years and starting to get the hang of it. Even on this wind, I've already seen it in the past, so I know my lines," he said.

Two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson was at six-under with two other players, one shot ahead of a pack of five players which included world number eight Xander Schauffele and overnight leader Matteo Manassero.

Former world number one and defending champion Dustin Johnson was at four-under along with Tyrrell Hatton, Phil Mickelson and one other player.

Earlier on Friday, organisers announced that world number nine Bryson DeChambeau withdrew before the start of the second round because of injuries to his left hand and left hip.

The Jeddah tournament, which has a US$5 million (S$6.7 million) prize fund, is the opening event of the Asian Tour's 2022-23 season.

The Asian Tour is set for a major overhaul this season with the introduction of 10 new marquee events following its partnership with the newly-formed LIV Golf Investments, a company backed by Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund.

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