Fraser establishes narrow lead

4/24/2010 8:31:45 AM
Australia's Marcus Fraser carded a second round 70 to maintain a one shot lead at the Ballantine's Championship on a bright but windy third day at Pinx Golf Club.

After a bogey-free 65 on Thursday, Fraser dropped his only shot of the week at his penultimate hole today.

But three birdies lifted him to nine under par overall to leapfrog overnight clubhouse leaders Thongchai Jaidee and Tano Goya.

After enjoying a rare day off on Friday, Fraser began his second round in style with a birdie but then could only manage 12 consecutive pars as he missed four birdie chances from inside ten feet.

A lip out with five holes remaining looked to have summed up the 31 year old's day until back-to-back birdies were followed by his solitary bogey after failing to get up and down from a greenside bunker.

"I played very well but just didn't make a couple of putts at the start of the round, but made a couple of birdies at the end of the round," Fraser said.

"I felt like I played as good as I did on Thursday but it was just very tough conditions. It was just so gusty.

"It would drop and come back and it was difficult judging shots into the greens. But I managed to hit a lot of greens and made a few putts when I had to.

"It's a bit weird knowing it's only a 54-hole tournament but I will just give it my best shot and keep playing well and hope the outcome works in my favour."

After nearly seven hours' play was lost on Thursday and forced officials to cut the tournament to three rounds, defending champion Jaidee and Argentina's Goya played almost two rounds in equally testing wind on Friday.

Asian Number One Jaidee, 40, carded a superb second round 67, while last year's Madeira Islands Open BPI - Portugal winner Goya, 21, battled to a hard-fought round of 70 to lie eight under.

They were joined by Northern Ireland’s Gareth Maybin, who compiled a 68 to boost his chances of a maiden European Tour title. He has only dropped one shot so far - a bogey on the par five fourth hole in his second round today.

“Tee to green I have been pretty solid and when I have missed a green my short game has been pretty good,” said Maybin. “All in all looking forward to tomorrow really.”

Brett Rumford also completed a 70 on Friday and was joined at seven under overall by in-form South African Ernie Els and Korea's Ted Oh (70).

Three-time Major winner Els emphatically returned to the winners circle in style with victories at the World Golf Championships-CA Championship and Arnold Palmer Invitational this season and picked up a closing birdie for a 69.

Houston Open champion Anthony Kim, who finished third at the Masters Tournament, faces an uphill battle after carding three double bogeys in a 74 to slip seven shots off the pace.