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Friday, 19 March 2010
Austrian Golf Open - Round Two  (Getty Images)
Austrian Golf Open - Round Two (Getty Images)

England's Benn Barham continued his excellent first round form to retain the lead at the halfway stage of the Austrian Golf Open in Vienna.

Barham's rounds of 63 and 66 took him to 13 under par, his 129 total equalling the lowest of The European Tour season.

He goes into the weekend two in front of 2007 winner Richard Green, the Australian left-hander also returning a five under 66 in the second round, and three ahead of Scotland's Scott Drummond (68).

Low round of the day was a 64 from Welsh Ryder Cup hopeful Bradley Dredge, runner-up at the Omega European Masters on his last start two weeks ago.

It included seven successive birdies, one short of The European Tour all-time record, from the 14th, although placing of the ball was being allowed on the wet fairways.

Barham, yet to win on The European Tour and 175th on The Race to Dubai, has had an eagle and 12 birdies so far.

"You never know what will happen in this game," he said. "I've been working with a new coach the last few weeks and it's just a case of letting it go.

"I'm pleased with the direction it is moving. With the way my season is going I needed a different direction to freshen things up - playing the same week-in week-out was frustrating.

"Robert Watts has given me a few new things to work on and I have been striking it well. As a golfer if you hit the ball well you think well and everything falls into place.

"There is a long way to go. I'll try to treat it as another round with my mates at Chart Hills. The moment you get caught up in it the problems start to arise."

Drummond, who earned a five-year exemption with his 2004 PGA Championship victory at Wentworth, is also striving to be among the top 115 money-winners who keep their cards at the end of the season.

The 35 year old stands 158th, but victory for him or Barham on Sunday would mean they do not have to look at the standings any more.

“I felt my game has been good for a time and the consistency lacking but it is coming together now,” said Drummond.

Green revealed he has been putting the tournament on his schedule since taking advice from the current European Number One.

“Robert Karlsson told me a few years ago I should go as it was a course I should play as it would suit my game,” he said. “I didn’t go for a couple of years and then came here in 2006, played well and then won the year after so his assessment was pretty spot on. I am pretty sure the grass on the greens is a Sutton’s mix which is exactly the same as the Melbourne greens at home I grew up on.”

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1CABRERA-BELLO, RafaESP18-20
2BARHAM, BennENG18-19
3HANSEN, SorenDEN18-17
4BLAND, RichardENG18-15
5OOSTHUIZEN, LouisRSA18-14
T6BENSON, SeveENG18-13
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