Halfway leader Francesco Laporta (16/1 – Tournament Outright) says his goal is to “enjoy the weekend” after firing a brilliant second-round 63 at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

The Italian opened the week with a 71 on Thursday, failing to capitalise on being three-under after five. However, it was a different story on Friday as he kicked on in his second round. After reaching the turn in 33, Laporta birdied his last five holes to come home in 30 and sign for a best-of-the-day 63.

His tally of 10-under is one better than former Ryder Cup players Rafa Cabrera Bello (15/2 – Tournament Outright) and Matthew Fitzpatrick (9/2 favourite), who signed for scores of 68 and 67 respectively, with Sergio Garcia, Renato Paratore and Li Haotong tied for fourth.

Laporta is the man in control and his performance comes as a surprise considering he missed his first two cuts of the season in South Africa.

He does have some momentum, though, having won twice in three weeks on last year’s Challenge Tour to regain his privileges courtesy of winning the Road to Mallorca.

The Bari native also recorded a top-10 at the 2019 Italian Open and, despite the unfamiliarity of his situation, seems to be keeping his cool.

Laporta admitted it was a “great day” for him at Abu Dhabi GC and is now looking to ensure he does not let nerves get the better of him over what could be a life-changing couple of days.

“I just want to enjoy the weekend,” he said. “I played solid all 18 holes, my putting was solid, my driver, my irons.

“I gave myself a lot of opportunities for birdies and so when I had the opportunities, I took them. Every time I was putting for birdie, I made it. It was a great day.”

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