Friday, August 24, 2018

Gavin Green sets 12-under-par 36-hole clubhouse target at Czech Masters

EUROPEAN TOUR COMMUNICATIONS
Gavin Green produced a brilliant run of four birdies around the turn to post a 68 and set the clubhouse target on a weather-delayed day two of the D+D Real Czech Masters.
The Malaysian entered the day in a four-way tie for the lead at Albatross Golf Resort but made seven birdies on his way to a 12-under-par 36-hole total and a two-shot lead.
Fellow overnight leader Thomas Pieters was among the closest challengers alongside three-time Major Championship winner Padraig Harrington and last season's Road to Oman champion Tapio Pulkkanen.
Swede Peter Hanson and Scotland's Scott Jamieson were then at nine under, a shot clear of 2014 champion Jamie Donaldson, Thai Phachara Khongwatmai and England's Callum Tarren.
Green's only top ten in 33 European Tour appearances so far was a runner-up finish at last season's Hero Indian Open as he looks to become the first Malaysian winner in Tour history.
Belgian Pieters won this event in 2015 and a second-placed finish the following year helped him earn a Captain's Pick for the Ryder Cup, something he will once again have his eye on ahead of Thomas Bjørn's selections on September 5.
Just under 90 minutes was lost due to the threat of lightning early in the morning but that did not prove too much of a distraction for the field on another low-scoring day.
Finn Pulkkanen was out in the very first group of the day off the tenth and he birdied his opening hole to quickly move into a share of the lead.
Pieters had dropped out of a share of top spot by bogeying the 14th when he restarted after the lightning delay but he bounced straight back on the next.
Pulkkanen edged ahead from four feet on the first before Pieters joined him after a tee-shot to seven feet on the par three 16th.
Green was the next man to join the lead as he took advantage of the par five 12th, with Pulkkanen bogeying the third but picking the shot straight back up.
Green birdied the 14th from 18 feet and a wonderful approach into the next gave him a two-shot lead before Pieters spun his approach into the second close to cut the gap.
Finding the water on the 16th led to a Green double-bogey to hand Pieters the initiative and the reigning Asian Tour Order of Merit champion dropped another shot on the next.
Pieters holed a 20-footer on the fifth to move two ahead but Green was still fighting and holed a 15-footer on the 18th and made the most of the par five first to get back into double figures.
Pulkkanen birdied the par five ninth to set the target but Green had momentum once more and a six-footer on the second put him in share of the lead.
A tee-shot to tap-in range on the next meant that Green was ahead and with Pieters bogeying the eighth after a poor second, the lead was two shots.
Harrington made a birdie and a bogey before the stoppage but a stunning approach to the 18th moved him back into red numbers. Back-to-back birdies on the fifth and sixth edged the Irishman further up the leaderboard and he was into double figures with a 15-foot putt on the ninth.
Hanson started his round with nine straight pars but holed a monster putt on the first for eagle and another lengthy effort on the sixth brought a birdie to put him right in the mix.
Jamieson carded six birdies and two bogeys in his roller-coaster 68, while Welshman Donaldson was bogey-free in making the same score, picking up shots on the 11th, 18th, first and fourth.
Khongwatmai also completed a blemish-free effort, making gains on the first, ninth, tenth, 12th and 18th, with Tarren carding a level par 72.
Italy's Andrea Pavan was two under after five holes to sit at nine under, with German Alexander Knappe and England's Lee Slattery moving into the group behind early in their rounds.

Daly follows 64 with 75 at Czech Masters One day after shooting 64 to share the lead at the Czech Masters, John Daly fell back to earth with a 3-over 75.

Daly didn’t make a bogey over his first 21 holes, but then dropped shots on four of his next six holes.
Beginning on the back nine on Friday at Albatross Golf Resort, Daly made bogey on Nos. 13, 16, 17 and 18.
An eight-birdie opening round was followed by a two-birdie second round. He capped his scoring with a fifth dropped shot at the par-4 eighth.



At 5 under par, Daly was seven shots off the lead and outside the top 20, but he was safely inside the cut line for weekend play.
It’s been a difficult season for Daly, who has been battling a knee injury since a car crashed into his parked RV in an Augusta, Georgia parking lot in April. He’s since missed the cut or withdrawn from eight of 12 combined US PGA and US PGA Tour Champions events.
 He also skipped The Open and U.S. Senior Open.

LEADERBOARD
par 144 (2x72)
 
 
132 G Green (Malaysia) 64 68,
133 J Winther (Den) 65 68,
134 T Pulkkanen (Fin) 65 69, A Pavan (Ita) 65 69, P Harrington (Irl) 66 68, T Pieters (Bel) 64 70,
135 P Hanson (Swe) 66 69, T Lewis (Eng) 69 66, M Wallace (Eng) 70 65, S Lee (Kor) 66 69, S Jamieson (Sco) 67 68, A Rai (Eng) 67 68,
136 C Koepka (USA) 67 69, J Donaldson (Wal) 68 68, P Khongwatmai (Tha) 69 67, C Tarren (Eng) 64 72, C Syme (Sco) 66 70, A Knappe (Ger) 67 69,
137 B Neil (Sco) 68 69, L Slattery (Eng) 65 72, N Bertasio (Ita) 66 71, C Bezuidenhout (RSA) 71 66, E Pepperell (Eng) 66 71,
138 D Willett (Eng) 68 70, N Cullen (Aus) 68 70, M Schwab (Aut) 69 69, J Kruyswijk (RSA) 70 68, N Elvira (Esp) 65 73, S Vincent (Zim) 67 71, J Thomson (Eng) 68 70, L Westwood (Eng) 66 72, D Lipsky (USA) 69 69, M Nixon (Eng) 68 70, M Baldwin (Eng) 70 68, J Guerrier (Fra) 71 67,
139 J Daly (USA) 64 75, G Bhullar (Ind) 68 71, P Peterson (USA) 70 69, J Morrison (Eng) 70 69, D Boonma (Tha) 70 69, J Scrivener (Aus) 71 68, A Bland (Aus) 71 68, H Stewart (USA) 69 70, C Hanson (Eng) 72 67, J Smith (Eng) 70 69, M Kieffer (Ger) 69 70, J Choi (Kor) 69 70, A Connelly (Can) 69 70, J Edfors (Swe) 70 69, S Gallacher (Sco) 69 70, S Heisele (Ger) 72 67, R Paratore (Ita) 67 72, B Hebert (Fra) 69 70,
140 L Herbert (Aus) 69 71, R Jacquelin (Fra) 71 69, C Shinkwin (Eng) 67 73, S Hend (Aus) 71 69, S Gros (Fra) 70 70, R Bland (Eng) 69 71, D Howell (Eng) 69 71, P Karmis (Gre) 69 71, P Widegren (Swe) 71 69, P Angles (Esp) 67 73, J Ritchie (RSA) 70 70, L Bjerregaard (Den) 68 72, R Evans (Eng) 67 73, R Cho (SKor) 70 70, J Walters (RSA) 71 69, H Porteous (RSA) 71 69, A Chesters (Eng) 68 72, C Ford (Eng) 70 70,
141 A Sandhu (Ind) 71 70, B Evans (Eng) 72 69, A Wu (Chn) 69 72, M Korhonen (Fin) 70 71, M Pavon (Fra) 71 70, S Khan (Eng) 69 72, S Kjeldsen (Den) 70 71, D Burmester (RSA) 72 69, S Brown (Eng) 68 73, P Oriol (Esp) 69 72, P Waring (Eng) 66 75, O Farr (Wal) 67 74, R Gouveia (Por) 71 70, J Stalter (Fra) 71 70, A Cañizares (Esp) 70 71,
142 B Ritthammer (Ger) 71 71, A Hansen (Den) 73 69, J Wang (Kor) 72 70, M Decottignies-Lafon (Fra) 74 68, J Geary (Nzl) 71 71, G Moynihan (Irl) 70 72, C Blomstrand (Swe) 72 70, M Warren (Sco) 68 74, D Love (USA) 69 73, M Tullo (Chi) 72 70, D Im (USA) 69 73, S Fernandez (Esp) 68 74, S Chawrasia (Ind) 73 69, A Saddier (Fra) 71 71,
143 M Armitage (Eng) 70 73, H Leon (Chi) 71 72, C Sordet (Fra) 71 72, F Mruzek (Cze) 69 74, A Dodt (Aus) 66 77, S Webster (Eng) 72 71, G Bourdy (Fra) 72 71, J Munro (Aus) 72 71,
144 B Hafthorsson (Isl) 70 74, O Lieser (Cze) 69 75, G Stal (Fra) 72 72, J Cafourek (Cze) 69 75, G Porteous (Eng) 72 72, M Ford (Eng) 70 74, D Drysdale (Sco) 71 73, H Sturehed (Swe) 70 74, S Matus (Cze) 72 72, J Sjöholm (Swe) 71 73, M Gradecki (Pol) 72 72, S Brazel (Aus) 74 70, A Korinek (Cze) 71 73,
145 M Siem (Ger) 73 72, T Aiken (RSA) 73 72, F Fritsch (Ger) 72 73, A Meronk (Pol) 75 70, L Canter (Eng) 69 76,
146 J Janewattananond (Tha) 71 75, O Fisher (Eng) 69 77, F Aguilar (Chi) 75 71, M Manassero (Ita) 73 73, C Pigem (Esp) 72 74, V Tichy (am) (Cze) 74 72, Š Zach (am) (Cze) 73 73,
147 D Brooks (Eng) 73 74, D Suchan (Cze) 72 75, A Puchmelter (Svk) 75 72, R Gruber (Aut) 70 77, L Tintera (Cze) 70 77, A Leitmannstetter (Ger) 74 73, P Gal (Cze) 71 76,
148 N Colsaerts (Bel) 72 76, J Norris (Aus) 77 71,
149 A Johnston (Eng) 75 74, M Millar (Aus) 75 74, L Robinson (Eng) 72 77, P McBride (Irl) 72 77,
150 P Valasek (Svk) 76 74,
151 R Gonzalez (Arg) 73 78, Ó Serna (Mex) 76 75, M Pospisil (Cze) 75 76, R Wattel (Fra) 75 76,
152 J Friesz (Svk) 76 76,
153 B Staben (Ger) 76 77, C Doak (Sco) 76 77,
158 P Dedek (Cze) 79 79,
** P Howard (Eng) 76 RT,


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Tournament: D+D REAL Czech Masters
Race to Dubai: Tournament 36 of 47 events
Venue: Albatross Golf Resort, Prague, Czech Republic
Prize fund: €1,000,000
Hashtag: #CzechMasters
GettyImages-1022390818
The image of Gavin Green must be credited to Getty Images .

Day Two Report
Gavin Green moved into the outright lead at the halfway stage of the D+D Real Czech Masters but he will have to fend off a strong chasing pack, which includes three-time Major Champion Padraig Harrington and Ryder Cup hopeful Thomas Pieters, if he is to claim a maiden European Tour title.
The 24 year old became the first Malaysian to top the Asian Tour Order of Merit last year, earning his European Tour card for the first time in the process, but he belied his inexperience at Albatross Golf Resort as he carded seven birdies in a four under second round 68.
That earned him a 12 under total, one shot clear of Jeff Winther of Denmark, who matched Green’s second round score thanks to six birdies and two bogeys.
Two shots back were a four-strong contingent comprising Harrington, Italy’s Andrea Pavan, Finn Tapio Pulkkanen and former champion Pieters – who continues to impress as he eyes a wild card selection for Thomas Bjørn’s European Ryder Cup team.
Eddie Pepperell is the only man in the field capable of potentially breaking into the automatic qualification spots at the conclusion of the penultimate week in the Ryder Cup points race, and he remains in the frame despite falling five shots off the pace following a one under 71.
Matt Wallace, meanwhile, is one of only four multiple winners on the European Tour this year but he would become the only three-time winner of the season if he were to triumph in Prague. The Englishman enters the weekend just three shots back after the round of the day, a seven under par 65.
Player quotes:
Gavin Green
“It was just an up and down day, I had a couple of really good holes, good birdies and made some putts, but I had a couple of bad decisions that led to a double. Then I didn’t get up and down for par on 17 and made bogey there but I kept the card pretty clean after that.
“I kept to the same game plan as yesterday, hitting driver everywhere and being pretty aggressive and I was in the rough a couple of times and the fairway a couple of times. It’s nice having wedges into par fours though, makes it a little bit easier and you can control the spin. That gives you a lot better looks at birdie so I controlled it well and did pretty well so I’m happy.
“When I teed off on the first hole, man the wind was hard and the rain was coming down hard and I was wondering when they were going to stop play. I just kept patient and made par and then I heard the siren and came in and rested and chilled out.
“I came back out then and thankfully it didn’t rain for the rest of the day. It was a lot harder out there today, the greens were softer and the fairways are softer and it played longer. The wind was a little stronger this morning then we had a bit of rain which made it even softer.
“It’s fun to be leader and it’s been a while since I’ve been in this position so I’m going to enjoy it – my dad’s on the bag so we’re going to have a nice dinner maybe and a good sleep and continue tomorrow.”
Jeff Winther
“I thought that putt at the last was in but it just slipped past. I’ve been putting really well all day so I hope it keeps going. I played really nixely today, it was really nice to follow up that good round from yesterday.
“You had to stay patient on the front nine because it was really windy and the hole got a lot longer so it was nice to get out with a good round and a solid back nine.
“Yesterday was like playing indoors, there wasn’t a breath of wind so the first nine was really tough but I think I got the lucky draw – the back nine was a lot more like yesterday you could attack it so it was good. We’re only halfway through but it’ll be interesting tomorrow. I’m looking forward to it.”
Padraig Harrington
“It was a nice finish with three birdies in the last five holes and I made a couple of up and downs which is nice. Then a nice 12-14 footer at the last for birdie is always a bonus, and it just crept in there on the right side, so it’s nice to see then going in.
“I’m very happy. The conditions were tougher, obviously it was raining early on and it was a much tougher day because the par fives weren’t as accessible as yesterday so I’m very pleased with the score.
“It was substantially longer today, a slight difference in the direction of the wind but it was cooler and stronger and a sterner test. But the greens are still good and softer now with the rain so if you get yourself in position there are birdies to be made. It’s a tougher test off the tee though.
“This is where you want to be with 36 holes to go and we might have got the right side of the draw too so hopefully I’ll be there or thereabouts.
“My caddie is on holidays and I wasn’t planning to be here, I came at late notice so it’s interesting because it’s different conversations out there and different chat. Obviously it’s not quite as comfortable at times and there’s a little more working out to be done, but it can be refreshing having somebody else there as well.
“Thomas has played very nicely. Obviously on the last couple of holes he dropped a shot and he could have put himself out at 12 or 13 under par, but he’s in a good position for the weekend. It’s irrelevant whether you’re ten or 11 or 12 under, it’s all down to how you play at the weekend, that will determine who will win the tournament.”
Thomas Pieters
“It was obviously more difficult with the wind today but I didn’t make enough putts today. It was still a decent day, even though I made two bogeys. It was a disappointing finish, missing two short ones coming in, but overall I’m not unhappy with the position I’m in going into the weekend.
“I would think we might have been on the right side of the draw but we had some heavy rain this morning and you never know with this weather.
“It’s been a long day, waking up at 5am and I lost my concentration a bit at the end which is disappointing, but it’s the same for everybody and I’ve just got to go rest up now and do the same tomorrow.
"I’ll be a couple back going into tomorrow and you want to be around this position going into Sunday too, within two shots on the back nine with a chance to win.
“I’ve been striking it really well, it’s just the putting that has let me down so I need a good putting week and I really like the greens here. They’re perfect, so smooth and I can see the lines really well so if I keep making putts I’ll have a decent chance I think.”
Tapio Pulkkanen
“It’s been a really good two days and today was a solid round with a little bit of rain. The ball was flying a lot tougher yesterday and today it was much tougher in the morning.
“I started the season really well with a third place in South Africa but it’s been a bit of a struggle since. Now the game feels good so I’m hoping for a good finish this week.
“My overall ball striking is really good this week and I changed the driver on Monday and the putter too so there have been some changes and it feels good. I feel like I can really play on this course so I’m feeling really confident.”
Andrea Pavan
“It was good. The wind was up today but I played well when it was probably the toughest and towards the end after the wind dropped and the rain came, I made a couple of mistakes but it was a good round.
“It was a little bit harder because you have to adjust for the wind, and some tee shots were playing harder and some holes were longer, some shorter, but with the wind it’s just hard to hit it close. I putted well again today though and I hit it really well up until the second last hole.
“It was definitely nice to finish well especially after making a couple of mistakes, the third shot at the last to around two feet was very nice and I’m in a great position. But there’s still two rounds to go and a lot of golf to play so I’ll play my game and try to stay aggressive and hopefully I can keep make birdies.”
 



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