Too dark to play

Pep­perell takes three-stroke lead with 20 play­ers yet to fin­ish

The Star Malaysia - - Sport -

WALTON HEATH ( Eng­land): Ed­die Pep­perell (pic) moved into a three-stroke club­house lead and Tommy Fleet­wood lost ground at the Bri­tish Masters af­ter a sec­ond round when only three play­ers shot in the 60s at windy Walton Heath.

World No. 2 Justin Rose made it through to the week­end but was 10 strokes off the pace as he seeks a top-two fin­ish to re­claim his place atop the rank­ings.

Twenty play­ers were yet to fin­ish their sec­ond rounds when play was sus­pended be­cause of dark­ness on Fri­day.

Pep­perell, who was along­side Fleet­wood in a four-way share of the first-round lead, fol­lowed up a 67 with a three-un­der 69 and was the only player in the 124-man field to shoot two rounds un­der 70. He was on eight-un­der over­all.

Hav­ing made a hole-in-one on Thurs­day, Pep­perell added to his high­light reel by chip­ping in at the par-four third hole for one of his five birdies on Fri­day.

The near­est chal­lengers to Pep­perell, who won the Qatar Masters this year and nearly made it into Europe’s Ry­der Cup team, were Matt Wal­lace (72) and Julien Guer­rier, who was three-un­der af­ter 15 holes of his sec­ond round when play was sus­pended.

Wal­lace, who was among the overnight lead­ers and is a three­time win­ner on the Eu­ro­pean Tour this sea­son, said he was play­ing “with a heavy heart” fol­low­ing the death of his grand­mother on Thurs­day.

“I’m play­ing for her,” he said. Fleet­wood had five bo­geys and didn’t make a birdie in a five-over 77 – 10 strokes worse than his firstround score. Start­ing at No. 10, he dropped a shot at three of his first four holes and again at his eighth hole as side­ways winds made scor­ing dif­fi­cult.

“I just had a night­mare on the greens re­ally. I ac­tu­ally played all right,” said Fleet­wood.

“I ba­si­cally three-putted Nos. 11, 12 and 13 and lit­er­ally had no idea what the break was go­ing to do or the wind. I never once got it right.”

Fleet­wood was tied for 21st, eight shots be­hind Pep­perell, and only 13 play­ers shot worse than him on Fri­day.

Rose, who is host­ing the tour­na­ment this week, was forced to can­cel his pre-event me­dia com­mit­ments be­cause of a stom­ach bug and opened with a 74 that left him fight­ing to make the cut.

He was just above the cut mark when he bo­geyed No. 10 for his third dropped shot of the day, but birdied the next and parred his way home for a 72 that en­sured he’ll be around for the week­end.

Francesco Moli­nari, the Eu­ro­pean Ry­der Cup star who leads the Race to Dubai stand­ings, was in a tie for 43rd with Rose af­ter two rounds of 73.

— Reuters

Swing­ing away: Den­mark’s Thor­b­jorn Ole­sen hits a shot in fad­ing light dur­ing the sec­ond round of the Bri­tish Masters at the Walton Heath Golf Club, Walton-on-the-Hill, in Bri­tain, on Fri­day.

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