Portmarnock’s Conor Purcell remains right in contention at the halfway stage of the Range Servant Challenge but he was left to rue three back nine bogeys on day two in Sweden.
The 23-year old Dubliner opened with a six-under par 66 and showed no signs of stopping 10 holes into his second round having race to 12-under par with six birdies on the card.
Purcell, who last competed on the Challenge Tour at last September’s Northern Ireland Open, looked to be taking aim at the top of the leaderboard but ran into trouble on 13, making bogey before further dropped shots followed at the 14th and 17th. In the end it was a three-under par 69, Purcell moving to nine-under par at the halfway stage, four shots back of the leaders.
Purcell is the only Irishman advancing to the weekend after a stiff halfway cut-mark of five-under par claimed the scalp of a very unlucky Paul McBride. The Island professional, who’s been in fine form on the Alps Tour this term, was left one shot shy of weekend progression after successive rounds of 70 left him at four-under.
Gavin Moynihan had two late bogeys to thank for also missing out after a second round 69 left him at three-under while James Sugrue on debut (even) and Robin Dawson (+4) also fell short of the required mark.
Meanwhile, Mateusz Gradecki and Craig Howie share a one-stroke lead after 36 holes at Hinton Golf Club. The Pole and the Scot both added six-under par rounds of 66 to their opening rounds of 65 to reach 13-under par, with Sweden’s Anton Karlsson their nearest challenger a single shot back on 12-under par after he posted the low round of the day, a seven under par 65.
Gradecki is yet to card a bogey this week and after finishing with back-to-back birdies he is well-placed to mount a title challenge over the weekend: “I played very similar to yesterday, probably better tee to green,” he said. “It was actually one of the most solid rounds of golf I’ve ever played. I missed two very short putts for another two birdies, but I’m very pleased.
“I feel pretty comfortable with every part of my game at the moment. Putting has always been the strongest part of my game and recently my driving has been very good and my approaches are getting better, so I feel comfortable hitting at different pins.
“I think it suits my game. I’m pretty accurate off the tee and when I’m on the fairway here I have a lot of wedges and a lot of opportunities so I can hit at different pins and attack the golf course. That’s my strategy and I look forward to continue doing it.”
Scotland’s Howie dropped only a single shot during his second round and, despite posting a round of 66, was disappointed to miss out on further scoring opportunities on the par fives.
“I’m playing really nicely, so there are a lot of positives,” he said. “I maybe left a couple of shots out there; I played the par fives quite poorly, so there is that little bit of frustration that I could’ve gone really low, but anytime you shoot 66, you can’t really be too fussed.
“I think the golf course suits me. I like to fade it off the tee and there are a lot of fade holes. If you can drive it well then there’s so many chances out there. You’re not going to hole every putt so you’ve just got to stay patient and I think I’ve done that really well.”
Six players share fourth place on ten-under par, including Swedish duo Christofer Blomstrand and Jens Dantorp, Frenchman Edouard Dubois, Spain’s Mario Galiano Aguilar, Dodge Kemmer, from the USA. and Australia’s Blake Windred.
- Full scoring HERE