(Reuters) – A birdie blitz at the again 9 helped Italian Francesco Laporta card a excellent nine-under 63 on Friday to take a one-shot lead within the Abu Dhabi Championship, whilst global primary Brooks Koepka slid down the leaderboard after a disappointing 2d spherical.

Laporta, who fired a 71 within the first spherical, roared again into rivalry for his maiden Ecu Excursion identify with beneficial properties at the final 5 holes after managing 4 within the opening 11 on the Abu Dhabi Golfing Membership.

“I gave myself numerous alternative for birdies and so after I had the alternatives, I took it. Each and every time I used to be striking for birdie, I made it. It used to be a really perfect day,” Laporta, who went 10-under for the match heading into the weekend, mentioned.

“I performed cast all 18 holes, my striking used to be cast, my driving force, my irons.

“I am feeling excellent… I did not get started the season excellent. I ignored the reduce in South Africa two instances and that is the 3rd tournament and I am main, so I simply wish to benefit from the weekend.”

The 29-year-old is one shot forward of Spain’s Rafa Cabrera Bello, who shot 68, and England’s Matthew Fitzpatrick who signed off with a bogey-free 67.

Italian Renato Paratore used to be one shot in the back of in joint fourth along Sergio Garcia and Li Haotong whilst fellow in a single day chief Shaun Norris made the reduce regardless of a deficient 77 that incorporated seven bogeys.

4-times primary champion Koepka, again taking part in following a knee damage sustained in October, dropped to joint 35th after a deficient spherical of 75 whilst British Open champion Shane Lowry ignored the reduce with a 74.

(Reporting by means of Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Modifying by means of Toby Davis)

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