Strange stretches lead

Little-known Australian Scott Strange today showed that his opening 63 in the Wales Open at Celtic Manor was no one-off.

One ahead of Italian Edoardo Molinari overnight, the 31-year-old from Perth stretched his lead to three with birdies at the second and third holes of his second round.

Strange, runner-up at the Johnnie Walker Classic in India in March, stood 10 under par, with late-starting Molinari seven under and then a group of four one further back.

Former winner Robert Karlsson was among them after his birdie at the 458-yard 12th, his second of the day, and that was familiar territory for the tall Swede - he has finished third in each of the last three tournaments.

Alongside him was Indian Jeev Milkha Singh and Spaniard Alvaro Velasco after their 65s yesterday and also England’s Robert Dinwiddie, the 25-year-old from Durham who shot a remarkable 63 in the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth last week.

Dinwiddie’s other three rounds in the European Tour’s flagship event were 78, 79 and 79 and so he finished only 67th of the 70 who made the cut.

His course record effort last week showed the former Walker Cup player what he was capable of and birdies this morning at the first, second and seventh lifted him 14 places.

Darren Clarke was going well too on fairways sodden after more rain. He had three birdies in his first four holes to move up to four under and joint 14th, but the double bogey six of Padraig Harrington at the 413-yard 14th dropped the Open champion to one over and joint 88th.

Only the top 65 and ties tonight go through the concluding 36 holes and a missed cut was certainly not on Harrington’s plan with the US Open only two weeks away and after his decision not to play at Wentworth.

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