Pep­perell pow­ers to lead at Bri­tish Masters

Gulf Times Sport - - SPORT -

Ed­die Pep­perell strode into a com­mand­ing halfway lead at the Bri­tish Masters af­ter the English­man carded a three­un­der sec­ond round 69 to move three strokes clear at Wal­ton Heath, where tour­na­ment host Justin Rose signed for a level par 72 to en­sure he is play­ing at the week­end.

Hav­ing claimed his maiden Euro­pean Tour win at the Com­mer­cial Bank Qatar Masters ear­lier this year, Pep­perell is chasing his sec­ond ti­tle of a break­through sea­son – the 27-year-old cur­rently sits in 11th po­si­tion on the Race to Dubai.

He has made eight con­sec­u­tive cuts since July, in­clud­ing run­ner-up fin­ishes at the Aberdeen Stan­dard In­vest­ments Scot­tish Open and the Por­tu­gal Masters, and the Ox­ford player con­tin­ued that re­mark­ably con­sis­tent form as he over­came the tricky windy con­di­tions to card five birdies en route to an eight un­der to­tal.

“It was pretty good to­day I would say. It was pretty chilly this morn­ing and it’s a long drive out to the tenth tee, and it felt a bit of a lonely place out there, so it could have gone ei­ther way for me, like it did for a lot of guys,” Pep­perell said.

“I was kind of re­lieved to get my score in a de­cent spot early in the round be­cause I didn’t feel like I was play­ing very well. Three-un­der is a good score and I’m very happy with it.

“My short game and my putting has been very good. I didn’t putt well last week and I never do on slow greens but I tend to putt bet­ter on quick greens – I’m fo­cussing less on hit­ting the ball and more on stroking it down the line.

“I’ve got my­self a lie-in which is nice af­ter an early one this morn­ing and it’s go­ing to be a great week­end to look for­ward to. It’s a great course, great crowds, and I’m ex­cited for it.”

That opened a size­able gap at the top, with three-time win­ner this sea­son Matt Wal­lace in sec­ond place on five-un­der af­ter reg­is­ter­ing a level par 72 not long be­fore play was sus­pended overnight due to dark­ness.

Wal­lace said he was play­ing for his grand­mother, who passed away yes­ter­day morn­ing. “I ac­tu­ally had the af­ter­noon off yes­ter­day be­cause I was quite tired, and my grandma died yes­ter­day morn­ing, so that was quite tough. And to­day was a hard one to get through. I’m play­ing with a heavy heart this week­end, but I’m play­ing for her,” he said.

French­man Julien Guer­rier was five un­der through 15 holes be­fore play was called to a halt, while Jor­dan Smith was in the club­house on four un­der.

World num­ber two Rose, mean­while, signed for a level par 72 which will be enough for the 2013 US Open Cham­pion to make the cut af­ter round two con­cludes to­day morn­ing.

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