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Italians Francesco Molinari, Guido Migliozzi share lead in Abu Dhabi

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates – Francesco Molinari and Guido Migliozzi are impressing in front of Ryder Cup captain Luke Donald for the second straight week.

The Italians – hopefuls for the contest against the United States outside Rome in September – are tied atop the leaderboard at the Abu Dhabi Championship after two rounds.

They’ll take a one-shot lead into the weekend at 10 under at Yas Island Links. Play was suspended Friday for fading light with one group still to finish the second round at one of the top events on the DP World Tour schedule, and the first of 2023.

The 40-year-old Molinari’s 5-under 67 in the morning included six birdies on his back nine. His 25-year-old countryman joined him in the lead by closing his round of 69 with a hat trick of birdies.

Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

Australia’s Jason Scrivener (70) is one stroke back.

Molinari and Migliozzi were tied as top scorers at the Hero Cup last week with 3.5 points out of a possible 4.

Migliozzi had a bogey and a birdie on the front nine before a terrific approach on the 16th set up the first of three consecutive birdies.

“I stayed focused, I tried to stay on my game because I’m feeling great on the golf course and I was just waiting for some turning point and then I saved that beautiful par on 15,” Migliozzi said. “After that, I felt a bit better and I could accelerate, push on the accelerator and then beautiful golf shots came on the final three holes.”

Molinari started at the 10th and went double bogey-bogey on Nos. 16 and 17 after two early birdies before his strong finish.

“It’s nice to see that even after a rough couple of holes, I can get back to doing my own thing and hitting some good golf shots,” Molinari, who was Continental Europe’s captain in the victory over Great Britain & Ireland in the Hero Cup.

“It was obviously nice last week to play well under pressure and that’s at the end of the day the only way to gain (confidence) in my game,” he added.

Victor Perez of France and Alexander Björk of Sweden both shot 65s to join Frenchman Alexander Levy (68), South African George Coetzee (68) and Scotland’s Scott Jamieson (69) at 8-under overall.

Donald was the overnight leader but his second-round 75 left him five shots back.