McDowell grabs lead with flying start

Graeme McDowell enjoyed a sensational start to the second round to roar to the top of the Ballantine’s Championship leaderboard ahead of clubhouse leaders Paul McGinley and Kim Hyung-tae.

Graeme McDowell enjoyed a sensational start to the second round to roar to the top of the Ballantine’s Championship leaderboard ahead of clubhouse leaders Paul McGinley and Kim Hyung-tae.

Northern Ireland’s McDowell, who opened with a 68 on day one, carded four birdies and an eagle in the opening 11 holes, to move to 10-under-par, while his playing partner Thomas Bjorn carded six birdies, an eagle and a bogey to move to nine under at Pinx Golf Club on Jeju Island, South Korea.

Sweden’s Johan Edfors was six under through 12 holes following four birdies and an eagle to move to nine under overall.

Irishman McGinley thrived in blustery conditions with a bogey-free five-under-par 67, while South Korea’s Kim made seven birdies and a bogey for a 66.

American Anthony Kim, the son of South Korean immigrants, moved into an ominous position with 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 for an incoming score of 32.

The 41-year-old McGinley 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, his 13th, where he reached the green in two before two-putting for birdie and putts from eight feet, 25 feet and 20 feet, respectively, handed him birdies on the next three holes.

“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 through 14 holes, while compatriot Terry Pilkadaris moved to seven under with a 66 and India’s Jeev Milkha Singh was seven under through 10 holes.

Four birdies in the opening 10 holes elevated Padraig Harrington to five under following his opening round of 71, one shot behind American Chris DiMarco, who signed for a 68, while South Korea’s KJ Choi, a seven-time winner on the PGA Tour, carded 69 to move to four under.

Rory McIlroy, from Holywood, Northern Ireland, endured a mixed round of 71 with four birdies and three bogeys and was set to miss the cut.

The 18-year-old, who was tied for 115th place following an opening round of 76, was three over for the tournament.

More in this section

Join us for a special evening of Cheltenham chat on Friday March 12 at 6.30pm with racing legend and Irish Examiner columnist Ruby Walsh, Irish Examiner racing correspondent Tommy Lyons, and former champion jockey and tv presenter Mick Fitzgerald, author of Better than Sex.

Sport
Newsletter

Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up
Home Delivery
logo-ie

HOME DELIVERY SERVICE

Have the Irish Examiner delivered to your door. No delivery charge. Just pay the cover price.

IE_logo_newsletters

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox