Pepperell looking to ‘dominate’
Lowry hits hole-in-one during second round at Walton Heath
Eddie Pepperell expressed his intention to “dominate” the British Masters after Ryder Cup star Tommy Fleetwood suffered a nightmare day on the greens at Walton Heath.
Fleetwood and Pepperell were part of a four-way tie for the lead after opening rounds of 67, but while the former slumped to a birdie-free 77 to fall eight shots off the pace, Pepperell’s 69 gave him a halfway total of eight under and a three-shot lead over compatriot Matt Wallace.
France’s Julien Guerrier was also five under with three holes remaining when play was suspended yesterday evening due to darkness.
“I’m really excited because I do think I can really improve my long game over the weekend and if I can do that then I want to take the mindset of dominating the event, because why shouldn’t I?” Pepperell said after a round containing five birdies and two bogeys.
Pepperell won his first European Tour title in Qatar earlier this season and has also recorded two runners-up finishes and tied for sixth in the British Open at Carnoustie.
“I think I’ve made quite a big stride mentally the last 18 months,” Pepperell said. “I remember at the Scottish Open feeling very comfortable on the Sunday. I thought I was going to win all the way and I wouldn’t have felt that before.”
Pepperell shot a closing 64 at Gullane and it took a stunning 60 from Brandon Stone to deny him the title, but such form has taken the 27-year-old from Oxford to 50th in the world rankings. He could move inside the top 35 with a victory tomorrow.
A 78 in the third round of the US Open is the only time Fleetwood has posted a higher score this season and he will be hoping he bounces back in the same manner, a closing 63 at Shinnecock Hills equalling the championship record and seeing him finish just a shot behind winner Brooks Koepka.
Defending champion Paul Dunne carded a one-over 73 that included atriple-bogey eight on the par-five sixth hole and a chip in for an eagle-three on the long 11th.
The highlight of the day came from Shane Lowry, who aced the par-three fifth, the second hole-in-one of the tournament after Pepperell’s on the ninth on Thursday.
Lowry also made eagle on the 11th in a one-under 71 that leaves him on two under.
Pádraig Harrington will have to wait until today to see if he will be in action at the weekend. The Dubliner carded a two-over 74 and is presently in a share of 61st position on three over. The top 65 and ties will make the cut, but six players are presently on that mark that still have to complete their second rounds.