Chawra­sia re­tains lead as Fitzpatrick takes a tum­ble

Dunne is one shot in­side the week­end cut af­ter a sec­ond con­sec­u­tive 71

The Irish Times - Sports Weekend - - SPORTS -

SSP Chawra­sia took a two-shot lead into the week­end at the UBS Hong Kong Open af­ter Matt Fitzpatrick tum­bled down the leader­board on the sec­ond day.

Fitzpatrick, who was look­ing to over­come a dis­ap­point­ing fin­ish to last week’s DP World Tour Cham­pi­onship, be­gan the day one shot be­hind overnight leader Chawra­sia but strug­gled on Fri­day.

A dou­ble bo­gey on the first set the tone and bo­geys on the ninth, 11th and 14th holes con­trib­uted to a round of three-over 73, send­ing him slid­ing down to a share of 26th place, now eight shots off the lead.

In­dia’s Chawra­sia con­tin­ued to set a strong pace with just one blem­ish — a bo­gey on the 14th — on his score­card as he went round in 66 to move to nine un­der for the tour­na­ment.

“It’s a great round to­day,” Chawra­sia said on the Euro­pean Tour web­site. “I was five un­der at one time and then three-putted num­ber 14 but, still, it’s a good score four un­der — I’m happy.

“I’m just fol­low­ing my game. Same thing I’m play­ing the last two days, ex­actly the same strat­egy.

“Ob­vi­ously I’m un­der pres­sure a lit­tle bit, pres­sure is al­ways tough so I can man­age, hope­fully, the next two days.”

Chawra­sia sits two shots clear of hard-charg­ing Thomas Aiken, who had the best round of the tour­na­ment so far with a bo­gey-free 64.

“That was a lit­tle bet­ter, it was a fun round of golf,” Aiken said. “Just went out there with the same game plan as yes­ter­day, hit some good-qual­ity shots and re­ally didn’t make many mis­takes — that was the key.”

The South African has sole pos­ses­sion of sec­ond place, two shots clear of a four-man group at five un­der.

Ire­land’s Paul Dunne shot a sec­ond con­sec­u­tive 71, to leave him two over par over­all and just in­side the week­end cut.

Tommy Fleet­wood carded a 68 to join an eight-way tie for sev­enth that also in­cludes Welsh­man Jamie Don­ald­son, whose round of 69 moved him to four un­der for the tour­na­ment.

English trio Justin Rose, Chris Hanson and James Mor­ri­son are part of a seven-man group one shot fur­ther back.

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