Hamilton in frame for victory

AMERICAN Todd Hamilton’s decision to join the European Tour could bring him a first victory since the 2004 Open Championship this weekend.

The 44-year-old, now down at 545th in the world and with only two cuts made in his last 19 events, is just a stroke behind Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts and Indian Shiv Kapur at the halfway stage of the KLM Open at Hilversum.

Damien McGrane was best of the Irish after carding a second round 67 to move to five under par, three shots of the joint leaders.

Peter Lawrie signed for a two under par 68 for a three under total score while Darren Clarke came in with a 71 to finish one under with Gareth Maybin and Michael Hoey, who both signed for rounds of 67.

Simon Thornton of Team Ireland ended his round with a birdie on the last hole to stay on the cut mark and retain weekend playing rights on a level par score – joining Shane Lowry who signed for a 72.

Hamilton, seven under par after rounds of 66 and 67, said: “I don’t have full status on the US Tour any more, so I looked at the schedule and thought I’d come to places I’ve never been to.

“When I got here it wasn’t the type of course I enjoy playing. You need to drive well and I haven’t been doing that as well as I would have liked.

“I didn’t hit a lot of fairways, but it seemed like I always had a good angle to the flag and everything worked.”

Colsaerts had opened the event with a career-low 62, but was able to add only a level-par 70. Losing a ball in the heather at the 476-yard sixth – his 15th – cost the 27-year-old a double-bogey six and he finished with another dropped shot.

Kapur managed only three birdies compared to six and an eagle in his first-round 64, but his only bogey came at the short 15th and so he handed in a 68.

Favourite for the title is German Martin Kaymer, who in his first tournament since winning the USPGA title four weeks ago has started with two 67s to be just two behind.


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