Trio swing to the front
WENTWORTH: Belgian star Thomas Pieters, Scotland’s Scott Jamieson and Francesco Molinari of Italy headed into the last two rounds of the European PGA Championship in a three-way tie for the lead.
The trio were on 137, seven-under par, after 36 holes, on Friday, a shot clear of Germany’s Max Kieffer and three ahead of a clutch of players including 2015 winner An Byeong-Hun of South Korea and Lee Westwood who is looking to win this title at his 24th attempt.
Also in that group were South Africa’s Branden Grace, who shrugged off his first-round free drop controversy to card a 71, and British Open champion Henrik Stenson.
England’s Olympic champion Justin Rose made sure of his place in the last two rounds with a dramatic eagle at the par-five 18th which took him to two-over for the tournament.
But Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who shot a first round 67, dropped down the field with a 75 to finish twounder heading into the last two days.
Jamieson got off to a torrid start after Thursday’s 67 as he dropped three shots in the first three holes but a run of seven birdies in nine holes from the fourth saw him back up with the leaders.
“It’s a tough stretch of the golf course, the first three holes, especially the way the wind was blowing today,” he said.
“The last thing you need to do in that situation is panic.”
Molinari had a putt for the outright lead on the 18th but his eagle effort just drifted wide and he had to settle for a 70, two-under par whilst Pieters played solid golf for his 69.
Sweden’s Johan Carlsson who led the field after 18 holes was another to struggle as the wind gathered pace in the afternoon and he finished with a 73 but is still in the hunt.
Earlier England’s Ian Poulter had rescued his weekend by carding a three-under par 69 for a two-round total of 145, one-over par, to make the cut after his poor opening round.
It’s a tough stretch of the golf course, the first three holes, especially the way the wind was blowing today
But Poulter was still not happy — he felt his approach play deserved better and he was let down on the greens where he took 34 putts.
“I don’t know how to describe how poor I thought it was,” he said.
“It was pathetic, it really was. It was unacceptable.
“The putting is not good enough. My game’s in shape. I’ve hit 17 greens in regulation today on a tricky golf course.” AFP
Scott Jamieson in action in the European PGA Championship in Surrey on Friday.