Saudi International R2

Victor Perez overtakes Green & McDowell

January 30 – February 02
Royal Green G&CC, King Abdullah Economic City, Saudi Arabia
$3,500,000
Round 1, Round 3, Round 4


Victor Perez of France seized a one-shot lead over Malaysian Gavin Green to take top spot at the halfway point in the second Saudi International powered by Softbank Investment Advisers.

Saudi International R2 - Perez overtakes Green & McDowell
Victor Perez. (Photo by Andrew Redington/WME IMG/WME IMG via Getty Images)

The Frenchman set the pace on a calm but overcast morning at Royal Greens Golf & Country Club, carding his second five-under 65 in two days, allowing him to post a ten-under par, two-shot solo lead ahead of the day’s afternoon pairings.

Green featured in the first of those, opening with a birdie on his way to a four-under 66, battling a strengthening afternoon wind. Northern Ireland’s McDowell, chasing his first European Tour win since 2014, carried on his first round momentum to finish two-under for the day (68), two off the lead at eight-under-par.

“I’m obviously very pleased with the second round,” said 27-year-old leader, Perez, who captured his first European Tour at last year’s Alfred Dunhill Links Championship. “I was able to play really well yesterday, and obviously coming out this morning, this is the round where you have to try to take as much advantage as you can and put some points on the board, and obviously I’m in a very good position for tomorrow.”


Malaysia’s Green, who sits on nine-under-par after two rounds, will partner Perez, his former college teammate, in the final group on Saturday. Having completed a 67 in round two he said: “I think I’ve done pretty well so far. I’ve got no complaints. I’ve been hitting it solid and putting the balls in the right position. It’s a bit of a hit-and-miss, because the greens are so tricky out here, especially with the wind.

“I’m excited just to be in the mix. I’ve been there a couple times and just try to put myself in the position a couple more times and see what happens.”

Green’s tournament best 64 from the opening day was equalled by a resurgent Martin Kaymer, who went bogey free to propel himself from three-over to three-under, in what was the day’s stand-out round.

“I feel really close with my game because I have a plan now,” said the German. “I changed a few things over the winter with my driving because I was never happy with the way I drove the ball. It was straight, but it was never long enough to compete, really, on the big events. I’m very happy with the way I drive it right now.”

Looking back on his round, McDowell said: “It was tough to get going. A couple of birdies on the front were very pleasing and it was nice to hang in there coming in. It was really just a little bit colder with the putter today, and that was really the only difference between a great round yesterday and an average enough one today. It’s all to play for 36 holes left and I feel like I’m playing well enough to compete and get the job done.”

Saudi International R2 - Perez overtakes Green & McDowell
Graeme McDowell. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)

Sweden’s Henrik Stenson, defending champion Dustin Johnson (both -5), Phil Mickelson and Open winner Shane Lowry (both -4) remain in contention. US powerhouse Brooks Koepka will be hoping for a fast start at one-under par.

American world number 12, Patrick Reed (+3) and Lee Westwood (+3) were two of only a handful of big names to miss the cut.

After shooting the lowest round ever by a Saudi player in a European Tour event (+3), amateur Saud Alsharif – said: “I am really pleased with today. I did my best out there and can now look forward to the rest of my season on the MENA (Middle East North Africa) Golf Tour. I’ve learnt so much this week, already especially on decision making. That’s the key at this level and all I really need to improve on.”


With the business end of the golf getting underway tomorrow, the tournament is expecting its busiest day yet. The event’s Entertainment Zone will be packed with interactive, family fun experiences, plus a delicious selection of food trucks and pop-ups over its remaining two days – ensuring any visit guarantees ‘The Ultimate Day Out’.

Flamenco favourites the Gipsy Kings and Puerto Rican music sensation Luis Fonsi – the man behind global megahit ‘Despacito’ – will take to the stage following on from Saturday’s play.

Tickets for the Saudi International’s final two days remain on sale, priced at 50 SAR per day. Exclusive concert tickets start at 75 SAR.

For more tournament information, visit www.saudiinternational.com


Read next

Interview with Jason A. Straka

19th Hole
By GT Editor
Pos.
Player
Nat
To Par
R1
R2
Total
1
Victor Perez
FRA
-10
65
65
130
2
Gavin Green
MAS
-9
64
67
131
3
Graeme McDowell
NIR
-8
64
68
132
4
Renato Paratore
ITA
-7
68
65
133
T5
Jazz Janewattananond
THA
-6
68
66
134
T5
Ross Fisher
ENG
-6
66
68
134
T5
Victor Dubuisson
FRA
-6
69
65
134
T8
Dustin Johnson
USA
-5
67
68
135
T8
Francesco Laporta
ITA
-5
67
68
135
T8
Henrik Stenson
SWE
-5
65
70
135
T8
Marcus Kinhult
SWE
-5
67
68
135
T12
Jhonattan Vegas
VEN
-4
65
71
136
T12
Justin Walters
RSA
-4
71
65
136
T12
Phil Mickelson
USA
-4
66
70
136
T12
Sean Crocker
USA
-4
68
68
136
T12
Shane Lowry
IRL
-4
69
67
136
T12
Soren Kjeldsen
DEN
-4
67
69
136
T18
Aaron Rai
ENG
-3
66
71
137
T18
Alexander Bjoerk
SWE
-3
68
69
137
T18
Andy Sullivan
ENG
-3
66
71
137
T18
Ashun Wu
CHI
-3
71
66
137
T18
David Howell
ENG
-3
68
69
137
T18
James Morrison
ENG
-3
69
68
137
T18
Jeff Winther
SWE
-3
69
68
137
T18
Martin Kaymer
GER
-3
73
64
137
T18
Pablo Larrazabal
ESP
-3
69
68
137
T18
Richard McEvoy
ENG
-3
69
68
137
T18
Sebastian Garcia
ESP
-3
67
70
137
T18
Sergio Garcia
ESP
-3
69
68
137
T18
Thomas Pieters
BEL
-3
70
67
137
T31
Adrian Meronk
POL
-2
68
70
138
T31
Nacho Elvira
ESP
-2
72
66
138
T31
Jordan Smith
ENG
-2
71
67
138
T31
Lucas Herbert
AUS
-2
67
71
138
T31
Matt Wallace
ENG
-2
70
68
138
T31
Nicolas Colsaerts
BEL
-2
69
69
138
T31
Sebastian Soederberg
SWE
-2
65
73
138
T38
Abraham Ancer
USA
-1
69
70
139
T38
Adria Arnaus
ESP
-1
65
74
139
T38
Alexander Levy
FRA
-1
69
70
139
T38
Brooks Koepka
USA
-1
70
69
139
T38
Dean Burmester
RSA
-1
71
68
139
T38
Grant Forrest
SCO
-1
73
66
139
T38
Haydn Porteous
RSA
-1
72
67
139
T38
Joost Luiten
NED
-1
67
72
139
T38
Lorenzo Gagli
ITA
-1
73
66
139
T38
Matthieu Pavon
FRA
-1
68
71
139
T38
Maverick Antcliff
AUS
-1
70
69
139
T38
Rafael Cabrera Bello
ESP
-1
69
70
139
T38
Sebastian Heisele
GER
-1
70
69
139
T38
Thomas Detry
BEL
-1
73
66
139
T52
Adrian Otaegui
ESP
Par
69
71
140
T52
Antoine Rozner
FRA
Par
72
68
140
T52
Ashley Chesters
ENG
Par
73
67
140
T52
Benjamin Hebert
FRA
Par
71
69
140
T52
Connor Syme
SCO
Par
69
71
140
T52
Edoardo Molinari
ITA
Par
71
69
140
T52
Fabrizio Zanotti
PAR
Par
68
72
140
T52
Ian Poulter
ENG
Par
72
68
140
T52
Jack Senior
ENG
Par
71
69
140
T52
Julien Guerrier
FRA
Par
75
65
140
T52
Kalle Samooja
FIN
Par
72
68
140
T52
Richie Ramsay
SCO
Par
70
70
140
T52
Scott Jamieson
SCO
Par
73
67
140
T65
Christiaan Bezuidenhout
RSA
1
68
73
141
T65
Ernie Els
RSA
1
72
69
141
T65
Gaganjeet Bhullar
IND
1
74
67
141
T65
Haotong Li
CHN
1
70
71
141
T65
Justin Harding
RSA
1
68
73
141
T65
Masahiro Kawamura
JPN
1
73
68
141
T65
Matthias Schwab
AUT
1
69
72
141
T65
Maximilian Kieffer
GER
1
70
71
141
T65
Nino Bertasio
ITA
1
72
69
141
T65
Ryan Fox
NZL
1
66
75
141
T65
Stephen Gallacher
SCO
1
70
71
141
T65
Steven Brown
ENG
1
71
70
141
CUT
Chris Paisley
ENG
2
70
72
142
CUT
Cormac Sharvin
NIR
2
75
67
142
CUT
David Drysdale
SCO
2
73
69
142
CUT
Joakim Lagergren
SWE
2
75
67
142
CUT
Matthew Jordan
ENG
2
73
69
142
CUT
Mikko Korhonen
FIN
2
71
71
142
CUT
Min-Woo Lee
AUS
2
74
68
142
CUT
Paul Waring
ENG
2
72
70
142
CUT
Sam Horsfield
ENG
2
70
72
142
CUT
Scott Hend
AUS
2
68
74
142
CUT
Zander Lombard
RSA
2
72
70
142
CUT
Alvaro Quiros
ESP
3
72
71
143
CUT
Bernd Wiesberger
AUT
3
75
68
143
CUT
Darius van Driel
NED
3
71
72
143
CUT
Guido Migliozzi
ITA
3
70
73
143
CUT
Jamie Donaldson
WAL
3
71
72
143
CUT
Lee Westwood
ENG
3
70
73
143
CUT
Oliver Wilson
ENG
3
75
68
143
CUT
Patrick Reed
USA
3
73
70
143
CUT
Rasmus Hoejgaard
DEN
3
70
73
143
CUT
Richard Bland
ENG
3
69
74
143
CUT
Robert MacIntyre
SCO
3
72
71
143
CUT
Romain Langasque
FRA
3
71
72
143
CUT
Shubhankar Sharma
IND
3
68
75
143
CUT
Akshay Bhatia
USA
4
72
72
144
CUT
Andrea Pavan
ITA
4
71
73
144
CUT
Calum Hill
SCO
4
71
73
144
CUT
Erik Van Rooyen
RSA
4
71
73
144
CUT
Jack Singh-Brar
ENG
4
70
74
144
CUT
Jorge Campillo
ESP
4
73
71
144
CUT
Michael Lorenzo-Vera
FRA
4
74
70
144
CUT
Oliver Fisher
ENG
4
73
71
144
CUT
Tapio Pulkkanen
FIN
4
73
71
144
CUT
David Horsey
ENG
5
74
71
145
CUT
David Law
SCO
5
75
70
145
CUT
David Micheluzzi
AUS
5
72
73
145
CUT
Thomas Aiken
RSA
5
73
72
145
CUT
Tom Lewis
ENG
5
66
79
145
CUT
Jeung-Hun Wang
KOR
6
73
73
146
CUT
Joachim B. Hansen
DEN
6
74
72
146
CUT
Sebastian Crampton
USA
6
74
72
146
CUT
Benjamin Poke
DNK
7
74
73
147
CUT
Jamie Elson
ENG
7
79
68
147
CUT
Ricardo Santos
POR
7
74
73
147
CUT
Robert Rock
ENG
7
71
76
147
CUT
Ahmed Marjan
MOR
8
75
73
148
CUT
Matthew Southgate
ENG
8
71
77
148
CUT
Raphael Jacquelin
FRA
9
70
79
149
CUT
Wade Ormsby
AUS
9
76
73
149
CUT
Brandon Stone
RSA
10
78
72
150
CUT
Oliver Farr
WAL
10
73
77
150
CUT
Othman Al Mulla
KSA
10
75
75
150
CUT
Thomas Bjorn
DEN
10
73
77
150
CUT
Saud Al Sharif
KSA
15
82
73
155
CUT
Faisal Alsalhab
KSA
26
82
84
166
RET
Callum Shinkwin
ENG
Par
79
79