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Lowry and Fitzpatrick set the pace at Wentworth

Open Champion Shane Lowry and home favourite Matthew Fitzpatrick sprinted away from the chasing pack on day two of the 2020 BMW PGA Championship, firing 65s to set the early clubhouse target on 12 under par.


Things could have been even better for Sheffield native Fitzpatrick, who had carded an eagle and seven birdies in his first 17 holes on Friday to jump to 14 under and lead by two. But his second shot into the eighth - his last hole - clipped some branches before landing in the water and he went on to make a double bogey six after having to go back to the drop zone.

Lowry, meanwhile, followed up three birdies on his front nine with four more down the stretch in his flawless second round as the early starters made the most of favourable scoring conditions at Wentworth Golf Club.

Frenchman Victor Perez was the co-leaders' nearest challenger on nine under after producing a brilliant 66 that contained an eagle from long range on the par five fourth.

Lowry and Fitzpatrick began the day a single shot behind overnight leaders Tyrrell Hatton, Justin Harding and Adri Arnaus and wasted little time in moving into a share of the lead on Friday morning.

Starting from the ninth tee, Lowry opened his birdie account on the 12th before making another at the next to move to seven under, while Fitzpatrick joined him at the summit when he picked up shots on the tenth and 12th.

Further birdies on the 15th and 16th took Fitzpatrick to nine under before Lowry made gains at the long 17th and 18th - the second of which was from around 30 feet - to grab a share of the lead once more.

Fitzpatrick could not take advantage of those par fives but made consecutive pars to keep his card clean.

The Englishman then caught fire, making a birdie from 20 feet on the second before holing his bunker shot for another gain on the tricky third.

Fitzpatrick then chipped in from the back of the green for an eagle on the long fourth to open up a two shot lead over Lowry, who had just made back to back birdies on the fourth and fifth to get to 11 under.

After narrowly missing his long birdie try at the fifth, Fitzpatrick saw his advantage at the top reduced to a single stroke when Lowry followed up a stunning approach shot from the rough at the seventh with a birdie putt from around three feet.

But just as Lowry was completing his round with a par, Fitzpatrick restored his two shot lead with another birdie from close range on the sixth and he looked on course to beat Paul McGinley’s tournament record for the lowest opening 36 holes.

It was not to be his day, though, as he surrendered two shots on the eighth to sign for a 65, which represents his best round at Wentworth Golf Club.

After his round, Fitzpatrick said: "Everything's been solid really. I drove the ball well, chipped well, putted well and the approach play is good.

"So yeah, it's been nice that it's all come together, to be honest. I feel the last few weeks I've kind of done three things well and one thing's been off."

Lowry said: "This morning when we got out it was an absolutely beautiful morning. It was such a nice day to play golf.

"We got quite lucky, there was no wind. It was quite cold but the wind didn't pick up until maybe our last five or six holes and thankfully I've kind of taken advantage of it now, had a couple of decent scores and I'll sit back and I'll watch some golf this afternoon and see where I am at the end of the day and then get on with it and see what I can do at the weekend."

The shot of the morning came from 2006 champion David Howell, who made a brilliant hole-in-one on the 14th.

Howell's tee shot from 184 yards bounced once before diving into the hole, but the former Ryder Cup player will not be driving away in the sponsor's car parked behind the tee.

However, £71,675.01 - the value of the car - will be donated to the Alzheimer’s Society on Howell’s behalf.

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