(Reuters) – Eddie Pepperell mastered windy conditions to set the clubhouse target on day two of the British Masters with a three-under-par 69 at Walton Heath Golf Club in Surrey on Friday.
The 27-year-old Englishman, who entered the second round with a share of the lead, carded five birdies and two bogeys to move eight-under overall, three shots clear of his compatriot Matt Wallace.
France’s Julien Guerrier was also five under with three holes to go when play was suspended due to darkness.
“It’s so windy and I didn’t play very well for the first 12 holes and I was still three under par,” said Pepperell, who won his maiden European Tour title this season at the Qatar Masters.
“But my putting and my short-game were fantastic, and then I actually felt like I hit it very well on the last six holes. I maybe could have been a couple better, but it was tough out there for sure and I’m obviously very happy with that score.”
Pepperell is hoping a session on the driving range will help him feel more comfortable in testing conditions over the weekend.
“I’m in a good spot and I’m going to keep pushing,” he added.
“I’m hoping to spend a little bit of time on the range, and I’m hoping this weekend for my swing to feel a little more comfortable, and then I can play some shots and take even more to the golf course.”
England’s Tommy Fleetwood, who started the day with a share of the lead, struggled to rediscover his rhythm as he signed for a birdie-free 77 to slip eight shots off the pace.
Tournament host Justin Rose, the world number two, safely made the halfway cut with a 72 to sit on two-over alongside his Ryder Cup team mate Francesco Molinari, the leader of the European Tour’s Race to Dubai.
(Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru, editing by Ed Osmond)