Bernd Wiesberger is attempting, unconvincingly, to keep his focus on the tournament, not his lead in the Race to Dubai
DUBAI, U.A.E. — Amidst a maelstrom of madness and mistakes elsewhere, Bernd Wiesberger was an oasis of calm on Day 2 of a DP World Tour Championship that has the potential to represent a career highlight for the 34-year-old Austrian, whether he wins this week or not. With just this 47th event of the 2018-'19 European Tour to play, Wiesberger sits atop the Race to Dubai, 722.6 points ahead of second-placed Tommy Fleetwood and even further ahead of the three other men—Shane Lowry, Jon Rahm and Matt Fitzpatrick—who can possibly unseat him from his long-time leadership.
Actually, winning the $3 million first prize isn’t looking too likely for Wiesberger. After 36 holes, the man everyone is looking up to is T-13, three under par and nine shots behind the halfway leader, Mike Lorenzo-Vera. With the likes of Fleetwood, Rahm and Rory McIlroy also higher on the leader board, Wiesberger’s prospects of claiming that record-breaking check appear slim at best.
No matter. Winner of the Made in Denmark, the Scottish Open and the Italian Open this year, Wiesberger clearly has other, bigger things on his mind, even if he is reluctant to say so out loud. Claiming ignorance other than knowing that the winner of the DP World gets 2,000 Race to Dubai points, Wiesberger trotted out the old “one shot at a time” mantra.
“At the end of the day this is still just a 72-hole golf tournament,” he said after completing a one-under-par 71, what was the only bogey-free round of a blustery second day on the Earth course at the Jumeirah Estates. “That is all I’m trying to play. The approach this week is to finish as high as I can in DP World. To that end, I’m trying to do the right things. I don’t want the idea that there is something else to play for to creep into my thinking. The worst thing I could be doing out there is trying to calculate everything before each shot. That’s all out of my control.”
He was convincing no one, even as he warmed to his theme.
“All I can do is focus on my own play,” he continued. “And that’s what I’ve been doing. There is no reason to change that going forward. I feel solid enough. I’ve done some good work on my driving the last couple of weeks and I have that under control. I feel really comfortable over the ball when I’m on the tee. That’s a big bonus. I can swing freely. And when I do that I normally play good golf.”
Hang on though. At last, a slight admission.
“Inside, while I know what is going on this week, I can get away from it when I’m out there in my own little bubble. I can control that side of things. All I have to do is keep bogeys off the card as I did today and hopefully make a few birdies. That adds up to a good week.”
And maybe, just maybe, the week of his professional life.