Friday, 19 March 2010
BMW PGA Championship - Round Two  (Getty Images)
BMW PGA Championship - Round Two (Getty Images)

Paul Casey, told on Wednesday that the World Number Three spot was there for him to grab this week, is bang on course for it halfway through the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth Club.

Three years after he won the HSBC World Match Play here, Casey moved from two behind to two in front with a second round 67 at the European Tour's flagship event.

The 31 year old had no hesitation nominating his shot of the day - a 163 yard nine iron that dived into the hole for a two at the difficult 13th.

Not that it was Casey's only eagle. He hit a seven iron to seven feet at the long fourth and had the chance of another when he was almost as close on the 12th, only to miss the putt.

That was one of four birdies, but a disappointing six five finish on the two par fives limited him to eight under par.

And he ended up with only 13 usable clubs, bending his four iron when he struck a tree on the 17th.

"I was worried that the club might snap and injure somebody in the crowd," he said. "It's an old shaft and it might be difficult to get it replaced - and I wanted to hit it at the last.

"I would have taken a two shot lead at the start of the day, but there were still a few too many mistakes, which was a bit frustrating.

"I used to struggle to figure out a way round here and stood on some tees pretty scared, but the changes (made by playing partner Ernie Els) gave me more options and I've built over the years a liking for the course."

First prize this time is €750,000 and that would take him well clear in The European Tour’s new The Race To Dubai, but it is the possibility of a third win this year and a leap from seventh to third in the rankings - behind only Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson - that sends him into the weekend licking his lips.

Joint second are holder Miguel Angel Jiménez, England's David Horsey and Anthony Wall, Scotsman Marc Warren and also Dane Søren Kjeldsen.

Jiménez's dream for the last 36 holes is that he will become only the third player in the event's history - after Nick Faldo and Colin Montgomerie - to make a successful defence of the trophy.

The 45 year old's hopes were given a massive boost by a closing 18-foot eagle putt after he had driven into the fairway bunker for the second day running.

"I think this course suits me because you need to control the ball," said the Malaga golfer. "It's always a benefit being a long hitter, but it does not make much difference here because you have to place the ball."

Jiménez has had more wins - eight - since his 40th birthday than before and he commented: "I feel the people kicking and trying to put me away, but I am still solid like a bull.

"I still enjoy myself with this new era and I love the competition. I still feel these butterflies in my stomach - it's what I do in my life and what I want to keep doing."

First day leaders Horsey and Wall both added 71s to their opening rounds of 67 to be alongside Jiménez and they were joined by Warren when he birdied four of the last seven for a best of the day 66 and Kjeldsen after he shot 69.

Former Open Championship winner Ben Curtis, Wales' Stephen Dodd and South African Thomas Aiken are in joint seventh on five under.

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1CASEY, PaulENG18-17
2FISHER, RossENG18-16
3KJELDSEN, SørenDEN18-13
4DODD, StephenWAL18-12
5MCILROY, RoryNIR18-10
T6CURTIS, BenUSA18-9
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