Rolex Series

Ludvig Åberg and Sebastian Söderberg share halfway lead at Wentworth

Ludvig Åberg and Sebastian Söderberg shared a one-shot lead after the delayed second round of the BMW PGA Championship reached a conclusion on Saturday morning.

The Swedish pair produced a pair of big finishes in the twilight on Friday to reach ten under for their opening 36 holes, after Thomas Detry, Masahiro Kawamura and Adrian Meronk had set the target at nine under earlier in the day.

Play was suspended at 19:30 on Friday evening, with 24 players still to conclude their rounds after a fog delay earlier in the day.

Among those was first round leader Marcus Helligkilde, who bogeyed the 15th on Saturday's resumption before recovering that dropped shot with a birdie at the 18th to card a level par 72 to sit at eight under alongside Austria's Sepp Straka and Englishman Aaron Rai, two adrift of Åberg and Söderberg.

Home hero Tommy Fleetwood produced a birdie-birdie finish in almost total darkness on Friday evening to card a 66 and join the group a shot off the lead in the fourth Rolex Series event of the season.

European Ryder Cup team Captain Luke Donald was among 79 players to make the cut at one under.

The third round is scheduled to start at 10:30 BST on Saturday, with a two tee start, U draw, in operation.

On Friday, Söderberg recovered from an opening bogey to turn in 33 and then made a hat-trick of gains from the tenth but he was still two shots off the lead before he birdied the 17th and eagled the last to card a 64 and get to ten under.

At that point, Åberg was back on the final tee at nine under having birdied the 16th and 17th to add to five further gains and a double-bogey.

And with the light of the scoreboard illuminating the 18th green in the fading light, he holed from four feet to sign for a 66 and join his countryman at the summit.

Åberg, Fleetwood and Straka will be playing for Europe at the Ryder Cup in two weeks' time and all 12 members of Donald's team will be in action this weekend, with Rory McIlroy birdieing the last in the dark to make the cut on the number.

Åberg's place in the team is another step in a remarkable rise for the former college superstar and Amateur World Number One who only turned professional in June.

His selection to face the United States came just a day after he claimed his first DP World Tour title in Switzerland and he will now head into the weekend in pole position for a maiden Rolex Series victory having not yet played a Major.

"I thought it was great," he said of his round. "It showed that even though I wasn't as sharp off the tee as I would want to be, I still was able to find a good score.

"Really pleased with my irons and my wedges. Felt like I gave myself a lot of chances and was striking the ball quite well. Looking forward to the next couple days, so it will be a lot of fun.

"It was a little bit nerve-wracking both yesterday and today but I'm proud of the way I handled it and looking forward to the next couple of days."

Söderberg was also a winner up the mountain in Crans-Montana in 2019 and is on target for his best finish in the Race to Dubai Rankings in Partnership with Rolex thanks to four top tens this season, including a tie for second in the opening Rolex Series event in Abu Dhabi.

"It's going to be a lot of fun," he said of the 36 holes to come. "It kind of feels like it came from nowhere.

"Struggling a little bit last week on the weekend and has not felt great at the start of this week. Just trying to find some contact with my irons and they have kind of been going everywhere. So I guess some of that work finally paying off and I'm starting to hit some quality shots.

"It's a huge tournament. The whole Ryder Cup squad is here. It's going to be a lot of pressure and I'm going to try to enjoy it as much as I can."

A poor tee-shot led to Söderberg's opening bogey but he put his tee-shot to nine feet on the par-three second to bounce back, adding gains from inside six feet at the sixth and ninth.

He was inside five feet on the tenth and 11th and made a two-putt gain on the par-five 12th before also capitalising on the two closing par-fives, getting down in two from off the green at the 17th and holing a 15-footer on the last.

His solo lead would not last long, however, as Åberg produced some late magic of his own.

A 17-footer on the second would be followed by two putts on the par-five fourth and while he hit a smart approach into the seventh, a double-bogey after tee and sand trouble on the ninth stalled his progress.

He took advantage of the 12th and then chipped in on the 14th but the best was to come as he left himself eight feet on the 16th, a tap-in on the 17th and got up and down on the last after a ragged tee-shot forced him to lay-up.

Kawamura was the star of Friday's earlier starters as the Japanese carded a bogey-free 65, while Pole Meronk and Belgian Detry both signed for rounds of 68.

Fleetwood recovered from an opening bogey with seven birdies, including two to close, to sit a shot ahead of Straka, who carded a 66 and Rai who needed one more blow.

Ryder Cup star Tyrrell Hatton, fellow Englishman Matthew Baldwin, Spaniard Jorge Campillo, Kiwi Ryan Fox, South Korea's Tom Kim and Scot Connor Syme are at seven under.

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