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Martin Kaymer leads, Harrington DQ

Holder Martin Kaymer overcame the “shock” of playing partner Padraig Harrington’s disqualification to fire a seven-under 65 for a three-shot lead in the Abu Dhabi Championship second round on Friday.

Triple major champion Harrington also posted a 65 on Thursday but was told early on Friday he had signed for an incorrect score after a television viewer noticed the Irishman accidentally move his ball on the green [nB558760].

“It came as a complete shock to me when I found out Padraig had been disqualified,” German Kaymer told Reuters after his 12-under total of 132 put him three clear of South African Charl Schwartzel (71).

“He looked like he was going to have a strong chance to win the tournament,” the world number three said of Harrington, who is without a European Tour victory in two and a half years.

Kaymer said it is only the leading names who are likely to be caught out by television cameras.

“When it all boils down there would be only about 20 to 25 players that are shown on TV and they’re always usually the marquee players,” he added.

“If you are going to do it fairly by having a rules official look at the coverage then that would involve a TV camera with every group. That’s just not possible and I’m sure the TV stations would say the same.”

In overcast conditions with unseasonal rain, Kaymer birdied five of the opening seven holes in his bid to capture the title for the third time in four years.

“I’ve handled it well when I’ve played here in Abu Dhabi and that’s the biggest challenge the next two days, to see if I can play the same way,” he told reporters.

However, the European number one will have to watch money-list leader Schwartzel and joint world number four Graeme McDowell (136) who lurk just behind.

“I had a very good day even though I thought I had a good day yesterday too but today I made early birdies,” Kaymer said.

“On the front nine I was five-under-par and it gave me the hope and belief I can play well,” added the 26-year-old who can replace Tiger Woods as world number two by finishing in the top seven on Sunday.

“I just really enjoy being in the lead and the other guys chasing me.”

Last week’s Joburg Open winner Schwartzel, seeking back-to-back European Tour titles for the second time in his career, mixed six birdies with five bogeys.

“I’m quite tired right now as I made it very difficult out there today,” he said.

“I hit it well off the tee but very badly from the fairway. But then it’s always nice to finish with two birdies and get myself back in it.”

Phil Mickelson, the joint world number four with playing partner McDowell, carded a 70 for 141 before heading off to Ferrari World.

“There’s a place right across the street here (Ferrari World) I keep hearing about so I’m going to try to stop by and see if it’s open,” said the American.

“I hear they’ve got a roller-coaster that’s the fastest in the world. I’d like to try it.”

World number one Lee Westwood returned a 75 for 144 but should make the cut. Bad light meant the round was incomplete and four players must return on Saturday morning to finish off.

Argentina’s Ricardo Gonzalez became the second player to record a hole-in-one at the par-three seventh but unfortunately for him the prize of a new car was claimed a day earlier by Denmark’s Soren Kjeldsen.

Scores

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