Matt Fitzpatrick remains in pole position to claim the Harry Vardon Trophy after his second-round 67 kept him locked alongside fellow Englishman Tyrrell Hatton at the top of the 2022 DP World Tour Championship leaderboard.
There was a match-play feel to the action in the final group on Friday as a fast start saw Hatton open up a three-shot lead before fellow first-round co-leader Fitzpatrick reined him in.
Yorkshireman Fitzpatrick briefly claimed the outright lead in the closing stages courtesy of a late birdie blitz but Hatton took advantage of the short 17th to regain a share of first place.
There was late drama at the 18th as a pair of disappointing tee shots left the co-leaders with decisions to make.
Hatton opted to take a drop after finding his ball plugged in the penalty area and produced an excellent recovery shot to give himself an outside birdie chance, but ultimately had to settle for par and a round of 67.
Fitzpatrick, meanwhile, played his second shot from among the trees and walked away with no damage done to sit alongside Hatton on 12 under par.
Fitzpatrick, who went into this week’s season finale third on the DP World Tour Rankings in Partnership with Rolex, leads the projected standings ahead of Rory McIlroy and Ryan Fox with 36 holes remaining.
Swede Alex Noren and Spaniard Adri Arnaus head into the weekend in a tie for third, three shots behind the co-leaders on nine under.
Jon Rahm, who like Fitzpatrick has a stunning record at Jumeirah Golf Estates’ Earth Course, sits alongside fellow Spaniard Jorge Campillo one shot further back in a share of fifth.