Friday, 27 July 2012
Robert Dinwiddie  (Getty Images)
Robert Dinwiddie (Getty Images)

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  • Robert Dinwiddie
  • Robert Dinwiddie
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  • Stuart Manley
  • Stuart Manley
  • Chris Paisley
A fascinating battle at the top of the leaderboard continued into the second day of the English Challenge as Robert Dinwiddie carded another scintillating 65 to move three shots clear of Welshman Stuart Manley, who signed for a four under par 68.

Dinwiddie, a three time winner on the European Challenge Tour, and Manley were tied for the lead after the opening day but the Englishman stole a march on his fellow Briton after teeing off in the morning groups.

The 29 year old birdied the par four 12th hole before three consecutive birdies from the 14th were followed by another gained shot at the par three 18th, where he sank a 35 foot putt from the fringe at the back of the green.

He followed that with another birdie at the first before a run of six pars and a birdie at the eighth hole to move to 14 under par as he completed the first two rounds without a single bogey.

“The key today was to follow yesterday’s round with a good start and I did that,” said Dinwiddie, who had just 25 putts for each of the first two rounds. “I played the 10th well but didn’t quite make the putt. I made a great putt for par at the 11th which was key to keeping the momentum and then I birdied the 12th which got it started.

“The putt at the 18th is certainly not one you’d expect to make. All in all though, my goal was to shoot seven under again today and the start helped that.

“Obviously you have to putt well too. I read the greens well on the first day and did it again today. I just need to keep more of that for the weekend.”

Manley was well aware of what Dinwiddie had done before him and took to the Gainsborough Course on a mission in the afternoon groups, birdieing the 12th hole - his third - before bouncing back from a bogey at the 13th with an eagle at the par five 14th.

A birdie at the 16th hole was followed by a double bogey at the 17th but the 33 year old was unperturbed and he battled for his four under par round with a birdie at the 10th and another eagle at the par five fifth, which came courtesy of an incredible 45 foot putt from the back of the green.

“I saw that Robert went crazy again today so I knew I needed to try and at least get to double figures to give myself a chance for the weekend,” said Manley.

“I didn’t play as well as I did the first day, there were a couple of loose shots that I need to work on, but my putter was superb today. I holed from off the green a couple of times for birdies and eagles.

“I hit out of bounds at the 17th for a double bogey which hit me for six and I just gathered myself and tried to get back in the game and holed two huge ones at the first and fifth and that really kept me going.

“I don’t see why I can’t catch up with Robert. He’s a good player but if I go low at the weekend I have every chance. It’s going to be a fun weekend. I have no worries and I just have to go out and enjoy it.”

At 11 under par, Manley lay three further shots clear of England’s Chris Paisley in third place. The 26 year old got off to a positive start when he birdied the tenth, his opening hole, before another gained shot at the 12th. He followed that up with a bogey, however, before a birdie at the 15th and a bogey at the 16th meant he reached the turn in one under par.

An eagle at the second hole, after his second shot with a hybrid dropped to within 15 foot before holing the putt, and a birdie at the fifth gave him a second consecutive 68.

“I got off to a really good start over three tricky opening holes which was nice,” said Paisley. “I made a good save then on the 14th for par. It wasn’t great for a few holes then but I played really solid on my back nine and it could have been a few shots lower but overall I'm happy with that round.

“The course is set up really well. It’s a bit different from the last few years. There’s a bit more rough which I think is good. I've been playing well recently so I feel good.

“Obviously there’s a long way to go and Robert is playing well so I have a lot of work to do to catch up but I've still got 36 holes to try and do that.”

There were six players a shot further back on seven under par, four of them Englishmen, while Australia’s Daniel Gaunt carded a seven under par round of 65.

Bjorn Åkesson, meanwhile, carded a hole in one at the Stoke by Nayland Hotel, Golf and Spa thanks to an eight iron tee shot to the 172 yard par three.

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1PAISLEY, ChrisENG18-16
2MCGUIRK, FrancisENG18-14
3KOFSTAD, EspenNOR18-12
T5NIXON, MatthewENG18-10
T5BUSBY, JamesENG18-10
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