Trio swing to the front

New Straits Times - - Sport - SCOTT JAMIESON

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

REUTERS PIC

Scott Jamieson in ac­tion in the Euro­pean PGA Cham­pi­onship in Sur­rey on Fri­day.

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