(Reuters) – New Zealand’s Ryan Fox carded a second consecutive five-under-par 65 to take a share of the lead in a rain-affected second round at the Saudi International on Friday.
Over two hours of play were lost to wet conditions at Royal Greens Golf and Country Club, with several late starters having a majority of their back nine to complete on Saturday morning.
But Fox completed his round in fading light, sinking six birdies and a bogey on his final hole to sit at 10-under overall.
Scotland’s Stephen Gallacher was also at 10-under having completed 12 holes, two shots clear of a group that included world number one Dustin Johnson.
Johnson, who carded an opening round of 67, surged up the leaderboard with five birdies in his 14 completed holes on day two.
England’s Tommy Fleetwood dropped a shot on the final hole to finish with a 65. He sits three strokes off the lead alongside former world number one Justin Rose, Scotland’s Calum Hill and France’s Victor Perez.
Five-times major winner Phil Mickelson carded a solid 67 to remain in contention at five-under, a stroke clear of reigning U.S. Open champion Bryson DeChambeau, who has four holes to play in his second round.
Fox, whose only European Tour title came at the 2019 ISPS Handa World Super 6 Perth, said he is not intimidated by the pedigree of the chasing pack.
“I don’t know how many of the top 50 in the world are here this week but it’s a lot,” the 34-year-old said.
“And there’s a reason they’re there, they’re world class players, and I certainly hope to be there one day.
“If I can play well this week, then it’s a step forward in that direction. If not, it’s just good experience and a nice finish to my Desert Swing because I don’t really know when I’m going to come back out here again.”
Second round action will resume at 7.30 a.m. local time (0430 GMT) on Saturday.
(Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis)