McGinley breezes into the lead in South Korea

Paul McGinley thrived in blustery conditions with a bogey-free five-under-par 67 to take a share of the clubhouse lead on nine under at the Ballantine’s Championship on Jeju Island, South Korea.

Paul McGinley thrived in blustery conditions with a bogey-free five-under-par 67 to take a share of the clubhouse lead on nine under at the Ballantine’s Championship on Jeju Island, South Korea.

McGinley, who is chasing his fifth European Tour victory and a first since the 2005 Volvo Masters, opened with a four-under-68 but four straight birdies on his incoming nine propelled him to a 67, while joint leader alongside Kim Hyung-tae made seven birdies and a bogey for a 66.

American Anthony Kim, the son of South Korean immigrants, is third after a second successive 68.

The 22-year-old was playing alongside home favourite KJ Choi and was buoyed by the warm support from a partisan gallery, carding birdies at the first, his 10th, the fourth, the fifth and the ninth.

However, Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell was making an early move with three birdies in his first five holes to reach seven under.

McGinley, 41, used the wind to great effect on his opening hole, the 10th, driving 340 yards before a seven-iron approach set up a birdie four.

He then had to wait until the par-five fourth to pick up his next shot after reaching the green in two, while putts from eight feet, 25 feet and 20 feet, respectively, gave him successive birdies.

“It was very much European conditions, a bit like playing in Spain and Portugal early season,” McGinley said.

“I’ve made one bogey in two days, although it feels like I can play better and I can putt better too.

“I’m going to have to improve over the weekend if I’m going to win, but it’s a good start.”

Joint overnight leader Tony Carolan, of Australia, dropped two strokes to fall to three under after 14 holes, while compatriot Terry Pilkadaris was six under for the tournament after a similar number of holes in his second round.

Joint overnight leader Mikko Ilonen was yet to begin his second round at Pinx Golf Club after a delayed start.

The course, 60 miles off the Korean peninsula, is notorious for blustery conditions and tournament referee Miguel Vidaor was forced to suspend the scheduled local start time of 7.15am (22.15pm Irish time) for two hours 15 minutes.

American Chris DiMarco and South Korea’s KJ Choi, a seven-time winner on the PGA Tour, seemed to profit in the conditions, carding 68 and 69 to move to six under and four under respectively.

Rory McIlroy, from Holywood, Northern Ireland, endured a mixed round with four birdies and three bogeys and is set to miss the cut.

The 18-year-old, who was tied for 115th place after an opening 76, was three over for the tournament after a 71.

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