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Friday, 19 March 2010

Argentina’s Angel Cabrera will go into the weekend one shot clear at the top of The Barclays Scottish Open leaderboard after shooting six birdies in a round of 68 at Loch Lomond Golf Club.

The 2007 US Open winner shot a bogey-free 65 on Thursday and immediately picked up where he left off with a birdie on the first on Friday before picking up further strokes at the third, fourth and sixth holes.

A bogey five slowed his momentum at the tenth, but birdies at the 13th and 14th holes got him back on track. A pair of bogeys on the 15th and 18th brought him back to three under par for the day, nine under for the tournament, but Richard Green failed to capitalise.

The Australian, aiming to build on his first round 67, was poised to take top spot having collected seven birdies for the cost of just one bogey in the first 14 holes, but bogeys on the 15th, 16th and 18th pegged his score back to three under par, seven under overall.

The late slip allowed Damien McGrane to take sole possession of second place after the Irishman shot a superb 66 in the morning to sit eight under par for two rounds. McGrane’s five under par round gained momentum with a birdie three at the 12th - he started on the tenth - before he picked up an extra stroke at the par three 17th. An eagle followed at the third, while birdies on the eighth and ninth holes eased the pain of a bogey on the seventh.

Cabrera said: “The end was a bit of a shame but it was a good round and I feel I'm in a good position going ahead to tomorrow.

"I'm very comfortable with the greens."

McGrane added: “I played well from start to finish. I hit a lot of good shots and a lot of fairways and finished with two birdies was a nice, strong finish which gets me right up there.

“My golf has been very average the last few weeks and I'm glad to be back with a good rub of the green at the moment.

“I like this course. It's very soft at the moment. It gives a lot of opportunity, if you play well and you're tidy out there, you can have plenty of efforts for birdies, but the greens are tough to read as well, so you have to pick your chances carefully when they come along.”

Paul Lawrie, the 1999 winner of The Open Championship, is also flying high in a five-way tie for fourth on seven under par after collecting birdies on the 12th, fourth and sixth and an eagle on the 13th. A bogey five on the ninth brought him level with Denmark’s Thomas Björn, England’s Simon Khan, Green and Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee, who was the overnight leader but shot five bogeys in a level par 71.

Matthew Millar of Australia was heading for a sensational score of eight under par, but, having shot six birdies and an eagle, he took a bogey on the last to claim a round of 64 and take a share of eighth on six under par with five others.

Phil Mickelson, meanwhile, followed in the footsteps of Sweden’s Pelle Edberg, who aced his tee shot on the 17th on Thursday, by holing his first shot at the fifth. His five iron from 198 yards pitched around ten feet short of the flag and rolled into the hole at a perfect speed. He is tied for 23rd place on the leaderboard on four under par.

“It kick-started my round, I was not doing much at that point,” admitted the 38 year old.

“I was probably right on the edge of the cut but it gave me some momentum and I birdied two more holes. It went over the ridge in the green so I couldn't see it go in but all of a sudden everybody behind the green jumped up and it was great to see that.

“I was struggling to get the ball in the hole so I guess I needed to hole it from off the green.”

Ernie Els, the World Number Six, shot an excellent round of 66 to join Mickelson on four under par overall.

Els said: “I had a very nice one going today and did not finish very well, five under with a couple of blemishes. The course is there to be taken and I will need to shoot the lights out tomorrow to have any chance.”

Sweden’s Alexander Noren, who started the day in a tie for first on seven under par, shot a 73 to fall to five under par.

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1MCDOWELL, GraemeNIR18-13
2KINGSTON, JamesRSA18-11
T3JIMÉNEZ, Miguel AngelESP18-10
T3GREEN, RichardAUS18-10
5KHAN, SimonENG18-9
T6DINWIDDIE, RobertENG18-8
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