Sergio Garcia escapes sanction over tapping down repaired pitch mark at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship

Garcia would have broken the rules had it been a spike mark but European Tour chief referee John Paramor was satisfied with his explanation

Sergio Garcia was again at the centre of attention as the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship continued on Friday.

A day after labelling the rough at Abu Dhabi Golf Club "dangerous", video emerged overnight of a possible rules infraction during Garcia's opening round of 76.

Footage showed the Spaniard tapping down something on the line of his putt on the 18th green, which would have been in breach of the rules if it was a spike mark.

However, the world number 10 and European Tour chief referee John Paramor went out to the 18th green on Friday morning and Paramor was satisfied with Garcia's explanation that he had tapped down a repaired pitch mark.

Coincidentally, England's Simon Dyson has returned to action in Abu Dhabi for the first time since being handed a suspended two-month ban from the European Tour for tapping down a spike mark.

Dyson was joint second after 36 holes of the BMW Masters in October when he was disqualified for signing for an incorrect score in the second round. The 36-year-old failed to add a two-shot penalty to his card after an incident on the eighth hole at Lake Malaren, when he touched the line of his putt after marking his ball, using the ball to flatten a spike mark.

Having reviewed the incident after being alerted to it by television viewers, European Tour officials charged Dyson with a serious breach of the tour's code of behaviour, a charge which was upheld when he appeared before a disciplinary panel at Wentworth in December.

In Abu Dhabi, Scotland's Craig Lee had moved into the outright lead on six under par thanks to four birdies and two bogeys in his first 10 holes of the second round.

Lee, who completed an opening 68 with four birdies in his last five holes and a par save from 35 feet on the last, picked up shots second time around on the first, fifth, seventh and 10th, with bogeys coming on the sixth and ninth.

PA

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