McBride leads the Irish chasing pack as McDonald sits on top at the Finnish Challenge

Conor Cantwell

Jack Mcdonald of Scotland (Photo by Joosep Martinson/Getty Images)

Paul McBride’s round of 67 sets him up nicely for the weekend as he hopes to chase down clubhouse leader Jack McDonald, who currently sits seven shots clear of the Irishman at the Vierumäki Finnish Challenge Tour event.

McDonald (-14) finished the day one shot clear of overnight leader Lauri Ruuska who followed up his historic round of 59 on the opening day with a one-under par performance today.

McBride improved on his opening round of three-under par by going one better with a four-under par display on the second day of play in Finland, with Conor Purcell (-5), Jonathan Yates (-4) and Conor O’Rourke (-3) further back in the field.


Back-to-back birdies on the opening two holes for McBride set him up nicely for an improvement on his round of 68 in round one, but a bogey on the fourth stifled his early quick start.

Pars on the remaining holes on the front nine carried the 27-year-old into the back nine on one under for the day, four under for the tournament.

McBride started the back nine with a hot hand, with birdies on the 10th, 12th and 13th sending the top Irish player over the first two days in with a score of seven-under par.

Conor Purcell’s four-under-par round of 67 places him as the second-highest-placed Irish player after two rounds of play, leaving him tied for 24th.

Purcell played a similar back nine to McBride, with two birdies and a bogey on the back nine setting him up for the final nine holes – and birdies on the 11th, 14th and 18th meant that the Irishman ended with a popular score for the Irish contingent of 67.

Jonathan Yates also played a solid round of 67 today bringing him to five under par for the tournament, but it could have finished much higher if not for a double bogey on his final hole of the round.

Yates’ seven shots on the par five 18th ate into the ground he had made up through his seven birdies on the second day of play.

Conor O’Rourke’s level par round of 72 meant that he lost ground on McBride, who finished the level with O’Rourke after the first round.

O’Rourke played the front nine the same as the back nine, with two birdies being erased by two bogeys leaving the Irishman eleven shots adrift of the top spot.

Ireland’s Rowen Lester missed the cut on two over par over the course of his two days of play with rounds of 70 and 74 on the first and second day of play respectively.

Clubhouse leader, Jack McDonald, broke down his second round of play, as the Scot finished the day with a round of 65 following an eight under par round of 63 – his lowest career round on the European Challenge Tour on day one.

The 30-year-old started on the tenth hole and quickly closed the gap to the top with an eagle at his third hole of the day. Gains either side of his only bogey of the round came at the 13th and 15th before he finished his opening nine holes with another birdie at the 18th.

He joined Ruuska in a share of the lead at the start of the back nine, picking up another stroke at the first hole, before taking the outright lead at the fifth.

With the lead at the halfway stage, McDonald was delighted with his opening rounds of golf to lead at Vierumäki Resort.

“I played very similar to the way I played yesterday. It’s great to see the ball going in the hole,” he said.

“I had quite a few birdies and there was an eagle in there today, which is always good to see. Again, I got off to a hot start which kept me going and I holed a couple of good par putts coming in as well.

“I feel really good with my game. I know it sounds cliché but I’m taking one shot at a time, and everything seems to be clicking. My short game is good. My putting is good. Getting to 14 under after two rounds is great.

“I’m just taking each week as it comes. The game of golf is really difficult at the best of times, so the way I see it is to go out and enjoy it. That’s what I wanted to do this year – keep enjoying playing golf because that’s when I play my best.

“I going to go out there tomorrow and enjoy it again. I think the weather should be fairly similar, but I don’t know if the winds might change. I’ve played here quite a lot and played it in different conditions.”


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