There was no luck for Team Ireland’s Gary Hurley or Darren Clarke on day two of the D+D Real Czech Masters at Albatross Golf Resort. The West Waterford man slumped to a second round 76 after an encouraging opening 73 to sit on plus 5 for the tournament, well outside the cut mark in a tie for 115th.
Two double bogeys on 8 and 11 were ultimately his undoing, with three birdies and three bogeys also on the card. His fate is not quite sealed, however, with heavy rain throughout the morning and afternoon meaning play was suspended for the day, but it would take a miracle and then some for him to make the weekend. Clarke carded a second round76 to miss the cut by four strokes.
Atop the summit, Lee Slattery produced a brilliant second round 65 in wet and cold conditions to set the clubhouse target before play was called in. The Englishman – a two-time European Tour winner – sits 107th on the Race to Dubai Rankings presented by Rolex but found his form in spectacular style in Prague, as he went on to record eight birdies and a single bogey to get to seven under, four shots clear of Zander Lombard who was his nearest challenger in the clubhouse.
Slattery made gains on the tenth, 11th, a hat-trick from the 13th and another birdie on the 16th to match Eddie Pepperell’s back nine 30 from Thursday. His approach to eight feet on the second handed the 39 year old the lead on his own, with his 65 the best completed round of the day by some four shots.
“Waking up this morning quite early, it’s always hard getting up on the best of days but getting up and seeing the rain this morning, it was difficult. It was literally just going out there today and trying your best, you know you never expect to shoot a score like that, but I’m really happy to be off now.
“It’s got to be up there, if not the best round (in career). The only green I missed today was the eighth hole and I hit a great chip to five feet and missed it, and had a three on the first for a par. So overall, it was a flawless round of golf, 14 fairways and 17 greens because I missed that one green, in this weather it was pretty incredible.”
The rain had been falling heavily throughout the morning and by early afternoon the course became unplayable, with play suspended at 2.20pm local time with the final four groups having all 18 holes to complete. But it’s not just the weather that Slattery will be hoping holds off over the next two days.
“My wife is seven days overdue now with our second baby, I managed to stay home for two weeks because she was early with the first one but I thought I would do the right thing and make sure I am there for the birth. Typically, she is late so it will be nice to get home and hopefully if she can hold off for another couple of days then that would be great and that would be a great present for me, that’s bigger than any golf tournament.”
South African Dylan Frittelli was one under after four holes to sit a shot off the lead, one clear of England’s Chris Hanson and Swede Pontus Widegren, both of whom had completed a single hole. Chile’s Felipe Aguilar, Frenchman Grégory Bourdy and English duo James Morrison and Callum Shinkwin were all four under par in the early stages of their second rounds.
South African Lombard had five birdies and four bogeys in his 71, with countryman Jaco Ahlers, 2014 champion Jamie Donaldson, German Bernd Ritthammer and Austrian Martin Wiegele all on the front nine also at three under.
Englishmen Pepperell and Matthew Fitzpatrick, last week’s winner Julian Suri, 2015 champion Thomas Pieters and Italian Matteo Manassero were then all in the clubhouse at two under.
The third round started today at 12.45pm from a two tee start, U-draw after the rain delays on Friday.