ISPS Handa World Invitational second round leaderboard
Men: -11 D Brown (Meadow); -5 A Fitzpatrick (Eng), A Hidalgo (Spa); –3 R Neergaard Petersen (Den), J Parry (Eng), E Pepperell (Eng), C Syme (Sco), A Otaegui (Spa): Featured Others: -2 R Mansell (Eng); +1 M Jordan (meadow); +2 T McKibbin (NI); +3 E Ferguson (Scot); +4 L Gallop (Eng), R MacIntyre (Scot); Missed cut: +5 J Catlin (USA), D McElroy (NI); +6 R McGee (Ireland); +8 J Caldwell (NI)
Women: -3 M Steen (USA; -2 E Henseleit (German); -1 R O’Toole (USA), G Cowley (eng), O Cowan (German), K Metra (Sui); Featured Others: +1 C Gainer (Eng), G Hall (Eng), B Law (Eng); +2 S Eng (NI); +3 EK Pedersen (Den), L Maguire (Ire); +5 M MacLaren (Eng); Lost clip: +7 C Kim (USA); +8 A Doherty (USA): +10 A Van Dam (Down), +11 J Ross (NI) am; +19 Oh Mehaffey
Ireland’s Leona Maguire lamented “terrible” weather and chipped greens as she slipped six behind leader American Marissa Steen in the women’s event at the World Invitational.
Maguire’s three-over-par 75 at Galgorm Castle left her three over for the tournament and tied for 32nd.
“I can’t read much into it. It’s windy. It’s miserable,” said Maguire, who is one behind compatriot Stephanie Meadow.
England’s Daniel Brown leads the men’s tournament with six at the halfway point.
Twenty-eight-year-old Brown’s tee-up at the 2015 KLM Open was his only DP World Tour appearance before this year, but he followed up his opening seven-under-par 64 at Castlerock on Thursday with an impressive four-under-par 66 at Galgorm despite the windy conditions.
The former English amateur champion, who hails from Northallerton in North Yorkshire, has a six-shot lead over compatriot Alex Fitzpatrick, brother of Matt Fitzpatrick, and Spain’s Angel Hidalgo.
The halfway leader has achieved three top-10 finishes in his first full season on the DP World Tour, which includes a seventh-place finish in the jointly sanctioned Barbasol Championship, which took place in the United States last month.
Brown, who recovered from consecutive early bogeys at the 13th and 14th to card seven birdies, attributed his good form to a “couple of little adjustments in my putting”.
“I’m much more confident in my own abilities after a couple of big results and know I have my card for next year,” he added.
Home hopeful Tom McKibbin regrouped magnificently from his dismal opening 78 at Galgorm to fire a six-under 65 at Castlerock, his two-over-par at the halfway point a stroke within the cut mark as he was the only one of the 11 Irish male hopefuls to to survive into the weekend.
But while McKibbin’s chances of challenging for the men’s title look remote as he sits 13 behind runaway leader Brown, both Meadow and Maguire remain in contention in the women’s event.
‘The boys with steel spikes don’t help’
Cavan woman Maguire, 28, looked distraught for most of her round as she missed a number of makeable putts, but insisted afterwards: “I played really great to be honest”.
“It was a tough day. It’s a terrible day. The guys wearing steel spikes don’t help either because the greens are a bit of a mess out there,” the two-time LPGA Tour winner and world number 14 told BBC Sport Northern Ireland.
Asked about her prospects of challenging for victory, Maguire replied: “With the draw and the two courses it’s not really a level playing field and we won’t really know until tomorrow.”
Maguire’s only birdie at the first was followed by an immediate dropped stroke at the par-four second and further bogeys followed at the ninth, 11th and final holes, where she was unable to get up and down after a pushed third shot with short iron after missing the fairway off the tee.
After her opening 74 at Galgorm, Northern Irishwoman Meadow, third in the Women’s PGA Championship major earlier this summer, remained in contention with a level-par 73 at Castlerock as she overcame two bogeys in her first three holes with no more blemishes . with birdies at the seventh and 15th.
The 33-year-old Cincinnati woman Steen has had just three top-10 finishes since starting her LPGA career in 2015, the last of which came at the Women’s Open in Carnoustie two years ago.
Steen’s one-under par 71 at Castlerock means she leads Germany’s Esther Henseleit by one going into the third round.
America’s former Scottish Open winner Ryann O’Toole is in a group two behind the leader which also includes England’s Gabriella Cowley, Germany’s Olivia Cowan and Switzerland’s Kim Metraum, while English trio Georgia Hall, Cara Gainer and Bronte Law are all four outside the pace.
This is the final tournament before Europe’s Solheim Cup squad is selected next week and in particular Cowan, who is seventh in the European points table, would boost her hopes of winning one of Suzann Pettersen’s four wild card selections by winning this weekend .
In contrast, the men’s action appears unlikely to have any implications for Europe’s Ryder Cup selection.
Scotland’s Robert MacIntyre, who occupies the third and final automatic qualifying spot in the European points table, missed the cut by one stroke after finishing on four over following a 76 at Castlerock, where France’s Victor Perez, seventh in the European points table, retired before hitting a ball on Friday due to illness after his first four-over-par 74 at Galgorm.
Both MacIntyre and Perez had chosen to play in Northern Ireland in the hope of improving their positions, but their decisions did not pay off as they progressed to the two remaining qualifying events in Europe, next week’s Czech Masters and the European Masters in Switzerland.
Like Ireland’s Seamus Power on the PGA Tour, Perez’s form has deteriorated at precisely the wrong time, with just one top-10 finish in 11 events since winning the Abu Dhabi Championship in late January.
This week’s men’s and women’s event is co-sanctioned by the DP World Tour, the LPGA Tour and the Ladies European Tour, with both winners picking up over £177,000 on Sunday night.