Local lad Morrison stars at Wentworth

5/25/2012 12:59:03 PM
James Morrison  (Getty Images)
James Morrison (Getty Images)
England's James Morrison rounded off a brilliant 64 with an eagle to charge into a four stroke lead early on the second day of the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth Club.

The 27 year old, who switched from cricket after playing for England Youths with Alastair Cook and Tim Bresnan, reached halfway at an impressive 12 under - amazingly twice the winning score of World Number One Luke Donald a year ago, and only one outside Paul McGinley’s 2008 course record for 36 holes.

Morrison, 236th in the Official World Golf Ranking, birdied the fourth and sixth, had three more in a row from the ninth and then picked up a further stroke at the 13th before rolling in a 25 foot putt on the 539 yard last.

His closest challengers at that point were Scot David Drysdale (70), big-hitting Alvaro Quiros - the player who beat him in a play-off for the 2010 Open de España - and also Donald after he birdied the 16th and 17th.

"I watched this even before I played golf and it's fantastic - even more so because I'm local," said Morrison, whose wife is expecting their first child in two weeks.

"I played dreadfully here the last two years because I took it so seriously, but I played lovely today. My putter is back, that's the main thing."

Donald is trying to join Sir Nick Faldo and Colin Montgomerie as the only players to make a successful defence of the title, and if Rory McIlroy missed the cut - he was down on two over after an opening 74 - it would need only a top-eight finish to take him back to the top of the OWGR.

Quiros was playing with Donald and so was Justin Rose, who was also going well at six under a day after he feared he might have to withdraw because of dizziness.

McIlroy was among the later starters as was third-ranked Lee Westwood, two under overnight as he attempts to make amends for losing a play-off to Donald last May.

Irishman Peter Lawrie, joint overnight leader with Drysdale, added a 71 to stand seven under.

Donald parred the last to join Drysdale in the clubhouse in second place, but Quiros bogeyed the 17th and so was tied for fourth with Lawrie.

Rose took six on 17 as well, but birdied the last for 71 and six under.

With the wind picking up, McIlroy was three over after an opening bogey and Westwood dropped a shot there as well, for the second day running.

The cut mark looked like going up in the conditions, but at three over McIlroy probably needed to play the remaining 17 holes in three under to make it through.

Donald said: "I don't think anybody will get close to 12 under, but I'm pleased - to be honest, I didn't have total control of the ball, but I'm rolling it well on the greens and that's always a good sign for me."

McIlroy's week continued to be a rollercoaster. He mixed two birdies with two bogeys in the first five and at two over was in a tie for 90th, two shots off the expected cut mark.

Westwood dropped another shot on the third, but then came a hat-trick of birdies. They lifted him to three under and 25th spot.

Morrison continued to lead by four and that seemed unlikely to change. The best of the afternoon starters was Ernie Els at five under - seven behind - after four.

McIlroy was really up against it when he double-bogeyed the eighth and dropped another on the next to be four over and four outside the cut line.

Westwood was far from safe. He doubled the seventh and a four on the short tenth put him level par, right on the limit.