Friday, 06 August 2004
Japan’s Seiji Ebihara and Australian Noel Ratcliffe took a share of the halfway lead in the De Vere PGA Seniors Championship at De Vere Carden Park.

Ebihara, who won this event in record setting fashion in 2002, carded a four under par 68, while Ratcliffe, who smashed the course record with a 62 to lead after the first day, came in with a 72.

They lead the European Seniors Tour event on 10 under par by a shot from Englishman Denis Durnian, Jamaica’s Delroy Cambridge and Giuseppe Cali from Italy.

Durnian, beaten in a sudden-death play-off last Sunday in Switzerland, carded a 70, while Cambridge and Cali shot 68s.

Ebihara won at De Vere Carden Park two years with a winning four round total of 21 under, which remains the lowest winning 72 hole total on the Seniors Tour.

“It is a lucky course for me. I played really well two years ago and feel good about this week as well,” said Ebihara, who claimed the Nigel Mansell Sunseeker International last month for his sixth Seniors Tour title.

He made three birdies on the trot from the 13th to stake a claim for the title.

After a flawless first round which matched the lowest round shot on the Seniors Tour Ratcliffe found it harder to hole the putts today. He made one birdie and dropped one shot, which was in stark contrast to the first round where he reeled off six birdies and two eagles.

“I guess it is just hard to follow a round like that 62. I just needed to hit it a little closer today,” said Ratcliffe, who missed birdie putts from seven and 10 feet on the last two holes.

Durnian continued to show the kind of form which took him so close to victory last week before Argentina’s Horacio Carbonetti defeated him on the first extra hole in Bad Ragaz.

“It was a tidy round which keeps me in position. Hopefully I can have two good rounds over the weekend and we will see what we can do,” said Durnian.

“Golf is a strange game. Coming down the stretch in Switzerland I was one in front with three to play, finished birdie, birdie, birdie and it was not good enough,” added the Englishman.

Frenchman Gery Watine is three behind the leaders after returning a 66 while Argentina’s Luis Carbonetti is a stroke further back.

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