Rafa Cabrera Bello of Spain lines a putt on the 15th hole at the Hong Kong Open golf tournament in Hong Kong, Sunday, Dec. 11, 2016. Australia's Sam Brazel birdied the 18th hole to narrowly edge Cabrera Bello to capture the Hong Kong Open on Sunday, his f
Kin Cheung
January 20, 2017

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) Rafa Cabrera Bello birdied his final three holes to shoot a 6-under 66 Friday and take a two-stroke lead midway through second round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

The 28th-ranked Cabrera Bello followed up his opening-round 67 to move to 11 under, putting himself in a good position to end a winless run that stretches back almost five years.

Henrik Stenson, the first-round leader at 8 under, was among the afternoon starters.

Cabrera Bello has been a regular in top 10s in recent years - he had six of them in the 2016 season alone - and his consistency earned him a debut on the European team at the Ryder Cup last year. But his last win remains the Dubai Desert Classic in February 2012.

''A couple times I felt that maybe I made a few mistakes, that I have learned from them,'' said the Spaniard, who had seven birdies and one bogey. ''Other times, I just felt that the other guys have outplayed me.

''I know I finished second or third many times but not all of them felt like losses. They felt like good comebacks to finish second or third. I feel like I'm close, but we will know soon.''

Cabrera Bello wasn't the only Spaniard to chase down Stenson in the early wave, benefiting from bright sunshine and barely a breath of wind. Pablo Larrazabal, the 2014 champion in Abu Dhabi, shot a 67 and was second at 9 under.

Former top-ranked player Lee Westwood (69) and was in a group at 7 under.

American players Dustin Johnson and Rickie Fowler (both at even par) were other headline acts among the afternoon starters.

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