Pep­perell look­ing to ‘dom­i­nate’

Lowry hits hole-in-one dur­ing sec­ond round at Wal­ton Heath

The Irish Times - Sports Weekend - - SPORTS -

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.

Im­prove

“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.

Triple bo­gey

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.

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