Matthew Fitzpatrick, Shane Lowry. Pic by Getty Images/ European Tour. Inset: Shubhankar Sharma (File picture)
Wentworth, UK, Oct 10: Shubhankar Sharma closed his second round with a birdie to comfortably ensure weekend action at the BMW PGA Championship, the third Rolex Series event of the 2020 Race to Dubai. Sharma, who had his season’s best finish of T-26 at the Scottish Open last week, looked solid despite back-to-back bogeys on fifth and sixth.
Sharma shot two-under 70 with five birdies against three bogeys after a first round of 1-over 73 on the first day, when he had four birdies against three bogeys and a double bogey.
Things however did not improve for Gaganjeet Bhullar (73-77) who missed his third cut in a row.
For the second day running, Sharma birdied two of four Par-5s, but what must be concerning is that he bogeyed two Par-3 each day.
Five-time European Tour winner Matthew Fitzpatrick (67-65) and reigning Open Champion Shane Lowry (67-65) both carded rounds of 7-under 65 each to share the halfway lead at 12-under.
Gavin Green, former Asian Tour No. 1 like Sharma, shot 71 after a first round 67, and stayed on in the Top-10 at the halfway stage. Green, flawless on the first day with five birdies, had a crippling triple bogey on par-5 fourth hole besides back-to-back bogeys on 13th and 14th.
Also at 1-under 143 is former World No. 1 Justin Rose (68-75).
Ryder Cup player Tyrrell Hatton, who already has two Rolex Series titles to his name, is one shot back after finishing his second round of 67 with three birdies in his final four holes. Denmark’s Joachim B Hansen and Frenchman Victor Perez are two shots further back on a nine under par while Race to Dubai leader Patrick Reed moved into the top ten on six under par courtesy of a round of 68.
David Howell, meanwhile, aced the par three 14th hole which secured a donation of £71,675 for the Official Tournament Charity Alzheimer’s Society from title sponsors BMW, as part of the European Tour’s Golf for Good initiative. The amount donated equals the value of the BMW 530e Touring which overlooks the tee this week.
For Lowry, it continues a remarkable love affair with Wentworth Club’s West Course, upon which no other player has carded more rounds of 67 or lower since 2011 – a feat which the Irishman has achieved seven times following his seven under par second round.
Masahiro Kawamura (70-69) at T-13, Kiradech Aphibarnrat (71-70) at T-30 and Wang Jeunghun (72-70) at T-35 are among other leading Asian players in the field, while Justin Harding a multiple winner on Asian Tour, had a massive reversal fortunes as he followed his first round 66 with a 9-over 81 in second the round and missed the cut.
Last week’s winner, Aaron Rai (68-77) missed the cut after he bogeyed twice in last four holes.