Eddie Pepperell and Lee Westwood are flying excessive on the midway stage of the Dubai Responsibility Free Irish Open as Padraig Harrington endured a tricky second day at Lahinch.
Zander Lombard holds a one-shot lead heading into the weekend after including a 67 to his opening 64 to shut on 9 beneath, whereas Pepperell continued to shine in his first occasion because the PGA Championship in mid-May as he additionally fired a 67 to say outright second forward of Westwood, Abraham Ancer and Jorge Campillo.
However overnight-leader Harrington slipped 20 locations down the leaderboard after he struggled within the more durable, early situations and bogeyed 4 of the primary seven holes earlier than rallying on the again 9 to salvage a 73 – 10 photographs greater than his gorgeous first spherical.
Lombard has did not make the weekend in his final eight begins on the European Tour, however he has turned his kind round on the west coast of Ireland and is now in prime place to turn out to be the primary South African to win the match because the legendary Bobby Locke was victorious at Portmarnock, 81 years in the past.
The 24-year-old, who was sixth at Ballyliffin final 12 months, was one over for his spherical earlier than making a superb two on the quick eighth for the second day operating, and that galvanised him for the again 9 as he picked up photographs on the 10th, 13th and ultimate holes to earn the clubhouse lead.
Pepperell appeared heading in the right direction to get to double-digits beneath par when he defied the weather within the morning wave to show in 33 and adopted a birdie on the 11th with an excellent eagle on the lengthy 12th which received him to 9 beneath with a 3rd of his spherical remaining.
However the charismatic 28-year-old, who was sidelined for six weeks with a again damage which compelled him to tug out of the US Open final month, dropped his second shot of the day on the 14th and parred the final 4 holes to set the goal within the clubhouse which was surpassed solely by Lombard.
“I’m very happy with that. It’s a good score, I would say, in the conditions we played in,” mentioned Pepperell afterwards. “The primary six or seven holes have been actually fairly robust and drizzly and it was laborious to get a flight on the ball.
“We noticed Lahinch most likely a bit extra the way in which we should always see it right this moment. It could be type of good to have in the future right here at 20mph winds simply to see the rating, and it might be entertaining! I’m not hitting the ball completely, however my quick recreation has been feeling good, and we’ll simply see how the weekend goes. I have to pay attention.”
Ancer additionally combined 5 birdies with two bogeys to turn out to be the primary participant into the clubhouse on seven beneath, a rating later matched by Campillo because the Spaniard – stage par on the flip – loved a barrage of birdies on the inward half and stormed residence in 30 to return a 64 and the low spherical of the second day.
Westwood made it a three-way share of third after he recovered from a poor begin to reel of three consecutive birdies from the seventh earlier than selecting up two extra on the again 9 handy in a superb 67.
Andy Sullivan eagled the final to cap a 66 which received him to 6 beneath together with Thorbjorn Olesen (69), whereas defending champion Russell Knox is one additional off the tempo after producing one of many photographs of the day on the final – a chic 245-yard long-iron to 4 toes which arrange a closing eagle.
Harrington slipped out of the highest 20 and seemed at risk of flirting with the reduce mark following his erratic first seven holes, however he halted the slide with a superb run of pars because the climate improved and made his first birdie on the 13th earlier than hitting again from a dropped shot on the subsequent with a 4 on the final to return to 4 beneath.
English stars Tommy Fleetwood and Matt Wallace are additionally 5 off the lead heading into the weekend, however Tyrrell Hatton, Danny Willett and Graeme McDowell have been among the many gamers to overlook out on the ultimate 36 holes.