Parry powers into commanding lead

10/8/2010 4:47:40 PM
John Parry  (Getty Images)
John Parry (Getty Images)
England's John Parry left the rest of the field, including nine of Europe's victorious Ryder Cup Team, trailing in his wake as the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship reached the halfway stage.

The 23 year old Challenge Tour graduate, a team-mate of Rory McIlroy at the 2007 Walker Cup, leads by four after a brilliant 65 at St Andrews in an event he only qualified for with his maiden European Tour title two weeks ago.

"It's nice to be here and I've holed putts from everywhere," said Parry, who from struggling to keep his European Tour card is now on course for a massive first prize of €580,046.

His Vivendi Cup 2010 victory in Paris was worth €204,160 and he celebrated that by buying himself a car - not a Lamborghini, Ferrari or Porsche, but a Vauxhall Astra.

"I would have bought something a bit nicer, but I've only just learnt to drive, so the insurance companies don't seem to like me at the minute - and my parking's not very good."

Parry turned pro three years ago like McIlroy, but while the Northern Irishman was an instant hit he failed to come through the Qualifying School and had to go and refine his skills on the EuroPro Tour.

"I didn't have any money at all, but my manager sort of backed me and I think I came out about even," he said.

From that he earned a place on the Challenge Tour and, thanks to a closing 63 for a win in this same week last year, he graduated from that to The European Tour.

Sweden's Martin Erlandsson, yet to win on The European Tour, is in second place after a 68 in equally tough wet, windy, cold and murky conditions at Carnoustie, the hardest of the three courses used for the celebrity pro-am.

“It was tough, I must say,” said Erlandsson. “There were a couple of holes where I managed to get away with it when it was into the wind. But overall it was pretty good.

“I just love playing in these conditions on links courses with the hard fairways when there’s a lot of roll on the ball.”

Three players are a further stroke back - big-hitting Spaniard Alvaro Quiros and Ryder Cup pair Ross Fisher and Martin Kaymer.

They were all at St Andrews, Fisher having a 68 and both Quiros and Kaymer 69s.

Fisher said: "When we saw the forecast it seemed like this was probably the best of the three courses to be at, but that was about as brutal as I've ever seen the back nine play.

"I wouldn't have come here if I didn't feel like my game was ready to win. Obviously the celebrations were pretty good, but I wouldn't say I feel tired."

Monday's match-winning hero Graeme McDowell, playing with his father Kenny, also shot 68 to move up to sixth place on six under, while Padraig Harrington, Ryder Cup vice-captain Thomas Björn and defending champion Simon Dyson are all five under.