Ewen Ferguson beats frost to sit two shots off lead in Irish Open

Glaswegian fires 3-under par 67 as Englishman Rai tops leaderboard

Friday, 25th September 2020, 9:49 pm
Ewen Ferguson plays his pitch to the 18th green during his second round at Galgorm Castle. Picture: PA
Ewen Ferguson plays his pitch to the 18th green during his second round at Galgorm Castle. Picture: PA

Ewen Ferguson is handily placed, two shots off the lead, at the halfway stage of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open.

The 24-year-old from Glasgow carded a three-under-par 67 in his second round at Galgorm Castle in County Antrim yesterday.

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Ferguson had been challenging for a share of the lead before being foiled by a bogey six on the final hole, and finished the day in a tie for fifth place.

Aaron Rai, who carded a level-par 70, holds a one-shot advantage over fellow Englishman Robert Rock, South African Dean Burmester and Joakim Lagergren of Sweden.

A 90-minute morning frost delay meant that 27 players were unable to finish their second rounds yesterday, with Englishmen Toby Tree and Jordan Smith and Australian Maverick Antcliff best placed of those with holes remaining to snatch the halfway lead.

Tree and Smith were three under for the week through 14 and 15 holes respectively, with Antcliff also three under with eight holes left to play.

Scotland’s Liam Johnston was among those who were unable to finish. He was on 11-over par with three holes remaining and looked set to miss the cut.

Fellow Scot Stephen Gallacher, who began the day two shots off the lead, slipped down to joint 27th after posting a four-over-par 74.

Rai, inset, had been one of only two players to card bogey-free opening rounds on Thursday, but immediately dropped a shot on the first.

He regained a share of the lead with a birdie at the third and converted from four feet at the seventh after an excellent tee shot.

The 25-year-old bogeyed the eighth and ninth but recovered with a gain at the tenth.

Despite a late bogey on the 17th, Rai holed a 25-footer for birdie on the last to remain five under.

“It was good,” said Rai. “A bit of a mixed bag out there but I think it is to be expected, the course played so tough.

“I think driving it is key around here, with how thick the rough is, and I think for most part I have driven it well the last few days.

“When I have had chances I have made a few putts as well. So probably a mix of driving and putting.”

Home favourites Padraig Harrington and Shane Lowry both looked set to miss the cut.

Ryder Cup captain Harrington carded a five-over 75 to lie six over, with Open champion Lowry seven over for the week after a 72.

“It is a pity, going to be one too many by the looks of it,” said Harrington.

“I played a lot better, didn’t take my chances early on and then got some swirling winds and didn’t chip very well, so I played a lot better than the score but these 
things happen.”

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