Friday, 06 October 2006

Bradley Dredge kept his momentum going on the second day of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship by following his course-record opening round at St Andrews with an impressive four under par 67 at Carnoustie to take a three shot lead into the weekend.

The Welshman, who claimed his second European Tour title last month with a convincing victory in the Omega European Masters, withstood the squalls which swept over Fife and Angus to lead South African Charl Schwartzel, whose 67 at St Andrews took him to ten under par, and Swede Johan Edfors, also on ten under after a 70 at the Home of Golf.

Ireland’s Padraig Harrington, the 2002 Champion, moved menacingly into a share of fourth place on nine under par after a three under 69 at St Andrews with World Number Five Vijay Singh on the same mark, following a 70 over the same course, along with England’s Simon Dyson, whose 68 at Kingsbarns maintained his position among the leaders.

But it is Dredge who is setting the pace having made a flying start to his second round on the  course widely regarded as the toughest of the three hosting this event. Back-to-back birdies on the first two holes got the round going and by the time he signed his card he had chipped in twice and racked up another three birdies with only one dropped shot spoiling his card.

“I got off to a good start again and hit some really good shots,” said Dredge. “There were a couple of iffy shots later but I scrambled well and chipping in twice is not something that happens often.”

Dredge, who will defend his WGC – World Cup title with Stephen Dodd in December, moves onto Kingsbarns for the third round hoping to have gleaned enough knowledge from just walking the course earlier in the week rather than play a practice round.

Edfors continued his assault on a fourth European Tour title of the year, and second in Scotland after his win in the Barclay’s Scottish Open in July, with a two under par 70 which could have been so much better but for a bogey on the 16th and then a double on the infamous Road Hole 17th at St Andrews.

Schwartzel by comparison was flawless in his five under par 67. “I hit 17 greens yesterday and probably the same today,” admitted the South African. “It gives me more confidence going into the weekend.”

Dyson is another player full of confidence following two wins during the season and remains right in the thick of things after racking up seven birdies during his round.

“I have St Andrews the next two days and if we have the worst of the weather tomorrow I would rather be there to be honest,” said Dyson. “Also if the weather is good you have chances of birdies. I love playing St Andrews. There is something about Carnoustie and here I like but St Andrews is St Andrews.”

Meanwhile Paul Casey’s bid to consolidate his position at the top of the Order of Merit faltered slightly after he double bogeyed the last at St Andrews for a two over par 74 which enabled ten players to move pass him.

In the team competition, Edfors and his amateur partner Mats Andersson  are sharing the lead on 19 under par with Harrington and JP McManus but it was left to another amateur, Nigel Taee to provide the shot of the day as he holed in one on the 13th at Kingsbarns. Unfortunately for the Chairman and CEO of the Grosvenor House Group healthcare, it was only a net birdie as playing off plus one he was giving a shot back to the course on that particular hole.

“I am a bit worried about going back to the Old Course Hotel,” he admitted, concerned about how many drinks he might have to buy. “I might try and sneak up to my bedroom and stay below the limelight.”

Describing his magical moment, Taee said: “We got the 13th, the little par three down the hill and as we got to the tee my professional playing partner, Robert Coles, said ‘Unfortunately, because you play off plus one, this is where you get your shot added back. So just go and hole it.’ So I stood there with an eight iron, it came right out of the middle of the club, took one bounce and went in the hole. It was an enormously thrilling moment for all of us.”


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