Rose and Rozner share the lead, but Gough steals the headlines at Betfred British Masters

Mark McGowan

John Gough (Photo by Ross Parker/R&A via Getty Images)

Former winner Justin Rose recovered from four bogeys on his opening ten holes to claim a share of the halfway lead, but reigning Irish Amateur Open champion John Gough was the real story of the day at the Belfry.

Gough, whose father hails from Meath and his mother from Newry, came back across the pond to take the spoils at The Island six weeks ago. The only amateur in the field birdied three of his opening nine holes to move into a share of the lead, but two bogeys to just one birdie on the front side saw him fall one shot back heading into the weekend.

Gough will be the sole source of Irish interest at the weekend after both Tom McKibbin and John Murphy fell victim to the halfway cut.


“Yeah it was tricky today with the wind picking up and swirling,” Gough said after his round, “but it was the same for everyone out there this afternoon. I probably didn’t hit it my best but that just bodes well for me going into the next few days.

“I feel a bit of confidence in that knowing that the next few days, could get some even better scores scoring but you never know. I holed a few good par saves and a good bogey at one point on 8.

“Looking forward to playing the weekend in DP Tour golf. Obviously there are some of the best golfers in there world here. It’s an honour to be here and to play beside them and to compete with them is more than I can imagine this week but overall delighted with the last two days.”

Rose, who hosted this tournament in 2018 at Walton Heath, 16 years after claiming the title at Woburn in 2002, had started the day one with a one stroke lead, but found himself three shots off the pace after Frenchman Antoine Rozner set the early clubhouse target of six under par.

The former World Number One recovered with four birdies on his closing seven holes, including a 35-foot putt on the 15th, signing for a one over par round of 73 and joining three-time DP World Tour winner Rozner on six under.

“Actually pretty happy walking off the golf course,” a relieved Rose told the media. “If you had interviewed me through ten holes, I probably wouldn’t have done the interview. So it was definitely a good finish, good strong finish to keep me in it.

“The golf course does hold up, year-on-year, the winning score is never that many under par around here and you can see why and today was a tough day. Bit breezier, a little cooler, annoying sort of drizzle coming and going. I think the greens got a little bit slower because of that moisture on them and there was just a few challenges.When you see the ball slipping by a couple times, the hole looks a little bit smaller which is what it did to me.

“When I analyse the round, I didn’t feel like I hit many poor shots. Didn’t hit many great shots but didn’t hit any poor shots really, but it was just minimal stuff really that cost me a few bogeys early on.”

Defending champion Thorbjørn Olesen is one of seven golfers one stroke back in a share of third place. The Dane, who won in dramatic fashion last year after finishing eagle-birdie on the four-time Ryder Cup layout, carded a three under par round to reach five under after 36 holes.

He is joined on that number by compatriot Niklas Nørgaard, Gough, the only amateur in the field, James Morrison, Andy Sullivan and Oliver Wilson and Germany’s Yannik Paul.

As part of the DP World Tour’s new sustainability campaign, the Green Drive, 100 trees will be planted for every player who drives the green on the iconic par four tenth hole, in partnership with One Tree Planted. After the second round, the green has been driven a total of 17 times, amounting to 1,700 trees.

Tournament title sponsors Betfred will also donate £500 each time the tenth green is driven and an additional £500 for every eagle made during the week to Official Charity Partner Prostate Cancer UK. A total of 21 eagles have been carded for a total fundraising effort of £19,000 thus far.


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