Madsen remains on course for consecutive titles

11/29/2013 11:21:00 AM
Morten Orum Madsen  (Getty Images)
Morten Orum Madsen (Getty Images)
Denmark's Morten Ørum Madsen overcame two double bogeys to remain top of the leaderboard in the Alfred Dunhill Championship.

At one stage Madsen dropped four shots in three holes, but last week’s winner stayed out in front after England's Richard Finch suffered a late slump in his second round.

Two-time European Tour winner Finch lost his card at the end of the 2013 season and failed to regain it at Qualifying School, but received an invite from the tournament sponsors to compete at Leopard Creek Country Club.

The 36 year old looked on course to make the most of it when he picked up six birdies in his first 15 holes to move into a three shot lead on ten under par.

However, Finch, who won the New Zealand Open and Irish Open in 2008, then fluffed a chip on the par three 16th, dropped another shot on the 17th and then dumped his approach to the 18th into the water guarding the green to card a double-bogey seven.

That meant he had to settle for a round of 70 and halfway total of six under par, two behind Madsen who had a rollercoaster round of his own as he looks to claim back-to-back wins following his triumph in the South African Open Championship last week.

Starting from the tenth, Madsen had taken a double bogey seven on the 13th but bounced back with three birdies in the next five holes and then eagled the par five second from 15 feet.

However, he then dropped shots at the next two holes and double bogeyed the fifth before birdies at the sixth and eighth completed a 71 to lie eight under par.

In contrast, Ross Fisher carded just one bogey in his round of 65 to finish seven under, the Englishman firing six birdies and an eagle to boost his chances of a first European Tour title since 2010.

Fisher has been in a rich vein of form over the last six months, recording five top-ten finishes, including losing out in a play-off for the ISPS HANDA Perth International last month.

“It was a lot easier scoring today,” said Fisher. “It was a testing day yesterday, and I played well but just couldn’t make a putt. 

“To be seven behind the leader was a little disappointing, so I knew I had to come out today and try and play as well as the previous day, if not better.

“I holed a good birdie on 12 and made a very good putt on 13, and made good birdies on 15 and 17. And then I hit two lovely shots into 18 and made eagle. All of a sudden, I was turning in six under, so I was automatically thinking if I could pick three or four up on the front side, 62 or 63 could be on the cards.”

Defending champion Charl Schwartzel was annoyed with his opening round of 68 after failing to make the most of carding five birdies in his first six holes, but the former Masters Tournament champion was soon moving up the leaderboard on Friday afternoon.

Schwartzel picked up shots on the fifth and sixth to improve to six under par, just two shots off the lead in an event he won by 12 shots last year.