Laporta leads by one in Abu Dhabi as Koepka struggles

Francesco-Laporta

Italy's Francesco Laporta (Giorgio Maiozzi/ANSA via AP)

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates — Francesco Laporta earned a one-shot lead halfway through the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship after carding a 9-under 63, while top-ranked Brooks Koepka struggled on Friday.

The Italian moved to 10 under after two rounds. One shot behind were Matthew Fitzpatrick of England (67) and Rafa Cabrera Bello of Spain (68).

“Every time I was putting for birdie, I made it,” Laporta said. ”It was a great day.”

Sergio Garcia, Li Haotong and first-round leader Renato Paratore were two shots off the pace on 8 under.

Louis Oosthuizen and Lee Westwood were in a group of five on 7 under.

Koepka shot a 3-over 75 to drop to 3 under and into a tie for 35th. It’s Koepka’s first tournament since October, when he aggravated a knee injury which caused him to miss the Presidents Cup.

Koepka birdied the first two holes but a bogey on the third set the tone for the rest of his round. Koepka double-bogeyed the fifth and 11th, and finished with his third bogey of the round.

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