Donnington Grove proved a difficult and stern test yesterday, and that was largely replicated during the second day of the tournament with Ireland’s Robin Dawson and Dermot McElroy making some gains with under par rounds.
Benjamin Jones – who finished runner-up at the Cubefunder Shootout – leads the field by one on 7-under par after a splendid 68 with Dawson the best of the Irish players after a 1-under 71 which sees him in tied 10th, just four shots off the pace.
McElroy is one shot further back after a round of 70 with Wexford’s Rhys Clarke in T20th place following a one over par second day.
Jones was part of the afternoon groupings, with conditions much tamer then yesterday afternoon – where the majority of the draw battled through swirling winds.
The Englishman parred the opening two holes before dropping a shot at the par-4 3rd, which was quickly restored as he birdied the following hole.
Two more birdies were accumulated on the front nine, but a sole bogey sandwiched between the two resulted in him making the turn in 35 (-1).
He lit up the back nine however, carding three consecutive birdies on 11, 12 and 13 before handing one back at the par-4 16th and he is the solo leader heading into Friday’s showdown following a final hole birdie.
Ryan Brooks shot the lowest score of the day from the top 10 with a fantastic 67 (-5) to ensure his presence in the final group while overnight leader, Nick Cunningham, took advantage of calmer conditions during yesterday morning, and he finished his second-round under-par too.
The weather looks enticing for Friday’s finale, with no rain forecasted for Newbury and highs of 21 degrees.
There will be a one-tee start and the final group will tee off at 11:10am tomorrow – with the first trio starting at 8am.