Eddie Pepperell looking to ‘dominate’ at British Masters

Shane Lowry hits hole-in-one during second round at Walton Heath

Eddie Pepperell expressed his intention to "dominate" the British Masters after Ryder Cup star Tommy Fleetwood suffered a nightmare day on the greens at Walton Heath.

Fleetwood and Pepperell were part of a four-way tie for the lead after opening rounds of 67, but while the former slumped to a birdie-free 77 to fall eight shots off the pace, Pepperell's 69 gave him a halfway total of eight under and a three-shot lead over compatriot Matt Wallace.

France's Julien Guerrier was also five under with three holes remaining when play was suspended on Friday evening due to darkness.

“I’m really excited because I do think I can really improve my long game over the weekend and if I can do that then I want to take the mindset of dominating the event, because why shouldn’t I?” Pepperell said after a round containing five birdies and two bogeys.

“I’ve got to be aggressive, keep trying to play the shots and I don’t think there is anything to be afraid of for sure. Get the speed of the greens and hole some putts and it’s all going to be rosy but we will see, there’s definitely some good players up there who can challenge for certain.”

Pepperell won his first European Tour title in Qatar earlier this season and has also recorded two runners-up finishes and tied for sixth in the British Open at Carnoustie, despite playing the final round with a hangover.

“I think I’ve made quite a big stride mentally the last 18 months,” Pepperell said. “I remember at the Scottish Open feeling very comfortable on the Sunday. I thought I was going to win all the way and I wouldn’t have felt that before.”

Pepperell shot a closing 64 at Gullane and it took a stunning 60 from Brandon Stone to deny him the title, but such form has taken the 27-year-old from Oxford to 50th in the world rankings.

He could move inside the top 35 with a victory on Sunday, but Pepperell insists he will not be treading the well-worn path to the PGA Tour which such an elevated status makes possible.

“I’m not interested in playing over there in a full-time capacity for certain,” he added. “I’m really happy where I’m at. I get to see America five, six times a year and I think that’s perfect. And that’s meant as a compliment as much as anything else because I want to enjoy it for what it is.”

A 78 in the third round of the US Open is the only time Fleetwood has posted a higher score this season and he will be hoping he bounces back in the same manner, a closing 63 at Shinnecock Hills equalling the championship record and seeing him finish just a shot behind winner Brooks Koepka.

“I just had a nightmare on the greens really,” said Fleetwood. “I basically three-putted 11, 12 and 13 and literally had no idea what the break was going to do or the wind. I never once got it right.”

Fleetwood is playing his 11th tournament in 14 weeks, a run which included all four FedEx Cup playoff events and Europe’s Ryder Cup triumph in Paris, but was not about to cite fatigue as a factor.

"It's an easy excuse but honestly I played fine," added Fleetwood, who is hoping to catch Ryder Cup partner Francesco Molinari – who was two shots worse off after a 73 – and win the Race to Dubai for a second year in succession.

“I’m obviously a long way back now but we don’t know what the weather conditions are going to be and if I hit it like that I feel perfectly okay about the weekend ahead.

“You have bad days but that’s the nature of the game and I’m not going to dwell on it too much. I had a poor day but there’s a weekend’s golf and every shot counts at the end of the year – you never know what difference it’s going to make.”

Tournament host Justin Rose safely made the halfway cut after a 72 left him on two over par.

Defending champion Paul Dunne carded a one-over 73 that included atriple-bogey eight on the par-five sixth hole and a chip in for an eagle-three on the long 11th.

The highlight of the day came from Shane Lowry, who aced the par-three fifth, the second hole-in-one of the tournament after Pepperell's on the ninth on Thursday. Lowry also made eagle on the 11th in a one-under 71 that leaves on two under.

Pádraig Harrington will have to wait until Saturday to see if he will be in action at the weekend.

The Dubliner carded a two-over 74 and is presently in a share of 61st position on three over. The top 65 and ties will make the cut, but six players are presently on that mark that still have to complete their second rounds.


Second-round suspended due to darkness

(British and unless stated, par 72) 136 Eddie Pepperell 67 69

139 Matt Wallace 67 72

140 Jordan Smith 71 69

141 Lucas Bjerregaard (Den) 74 67, Julian Suri (USA) 70 71, Andrew Sullivan 69 72, Ross Fisher 69 72, Sam Horsfield 71 70

142 Robert Karlsson (Swe) 69 73, Steven Brown 69 73, David Drysdale 69 73, Trevor Immelman(Rsa)69 73, Alexander Bjork(Swe) 69 73, Matthew Fitzpatrick 69 73

143 Tom Lewis 70 73, Paul Dunne 70 73, Wade Ormsby (Aus) 72 71, James Morrison 72 71

144 Andrew Johnston 72 72, Matteo Manassero (Ita) 72 72, Mikko Korhonen (Fin) 70 74, Zander Lombard(Rsa) 72 72, Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano (Esp) 72 72, Lee Slattery 70 74, Matthias Schwab (Aut) 70 74, Jeunghun Wang (Kor) 69 75, Tommy Fleetwood 67 77

145 Marcus Kinhult (Swe) 71 74, Richard McEvoy 68 77, Scott Jamieson 73 72, Marcel Siem (Ger)72 73, Stephen Gallacher 72 73, Andrea Pavan(Ita) 73 72, Alexander Levy (Fra)67 78, Gregory Havret(Fra) 75 70, Richard Sterne (Rsa)71 74

146 Ricardo Gouveia (Por) 76 70, Francesco Molinari (Ita) 73 73, Adrien Saddier (Fra) 73 73, Dean Burmester (Rsa) 74 72, Robert Rock 72 74, Justin Rose 74 72, Shane Lowry 75 71, David Lipsky (USA) 68 78, Austin Connelly (Can) 73 73, Edoardo Molinari(Ita) 74 72, Marcus Fraser(Aus) 72 74, Richie Ramsay 74 72, Clement Sordet (Fra) 69 77, Andrew Dodt (Aus)73 73, Darren Fichardt (Rsa) 73 73, Brett Rumford(Aus) 71 75, Oliver Farr 73 73

147 Mike Lorenzo-Vera (Fra) 68 79, Thomas Aiken (Rsa) 75 72, Paul Waring 70 77, Haydn Porteous(Rsa)77 70, Haotong Li(Chn) 73 74, Marc Warren 74 73, Gregory Bourdy(Fra) 74 73, Pádraig Harrington 73 74

148 Richard Bland 71 77, Tapio Pulkkanen (Fin) 72 76, Daniel Willett 71 77, Ryan Fox (Nzl) 75 73, Callum Shinkwin 70 78, Erik Van Rooyen(Rsa) 73 75, Jens Dantorp(Swe) 72 76

149 Charl Schwartzel (Rsa) 74 75, Mikko Ilonen (Fin) 76 73, Brandon Stone(Rsa) 73 76, Martin Kaymer(Ger) 72 77, Thongchai Jaidee(Tha) 74 75, Oliver Fisher 72 77, Alvaro Quiros (Esp)75 74, Phachara Khongwatmai(Tha) 74 75, Thorbjorn Olesen(Den) 73 76, Nacho Elvira (Esp) 73 76, Lee Westwood 74 75

150 Peter Hanson (Swe) 71 79, Ashley Chesters 79 71, George Coetzee (Rsa)71 79, Bradley Neil 74 76, Soomin Lee (Kor)77 73

151 Lasse Jensen (Den) 79 72, Thomas Bjorn (Den) 73 78, Daniel Brooks 78 73, Luke Donald 78 73, Adrian Otaegui(Esp) 74 77, Bradley Dredge 76 75

152 Robert Coles 75 77, Matthieu Pavon (Fra) 75 77, Jaco Van Zyl (Rsa) 72 80, Sam Brazel(Aus) 73 79, Renato Paratore (Ita) 74 78, Hideto Tanihara (Jpn) 74 78

153 Jason Norris (Aus) 78 75, David Horsey 76 77, Thomas Detry (Bel) 74 79, Johan Edfors(Swe) 76 77, Raphael Jacquelin (Fra)79 74

155 David Howell 78 77

156 Daniel Im (USA) 77 79

157 Scott Hend (Aus) 80 77