Matt Wallace takes halfway lead in British Masters

Tommy Fleetwood five off lead in Southport with Paul Dunne eight behind the pace

Matt Wallace plays a shot during his second round in Southport. Photograph: Ross Kinnaird/Getty

Matt Wallace plays a shot during his second round in Southport. Photograph: Ross Kinnaird/Getty

 

Matt Wallace is preaching patience and passing on post-round pizza as he looks to follow in the footsteps of Open champion Francesco Molinari.

Less than four years ago Wallace was finishing fifth in a tournament on the Alps Tour to move up to 1,672nd in the world rankings, but the following year won six times on the same circuit and then claimed his first European Tour title in Portugal in 2017.

Three more wins in 2018 meant Wallace was unfortunate to miss out on a wildcard for the Ryder Cup in Paris, but a second round of 67 in the British Masters put the world number 36 in pole position for a fifth win in two years and the first prize of £500,000.

Michael Hoey is the pick of the Irish in Southport, after his second round of 71 left him on five under par for the tournament - seven strokes off the lead.

Paul Dunne is a shot further adrift - he picked up four strokes and dropped one en-route to a 69 on Friday. Gavin Moynihan’s week is over prematurely however, with a level par second round of 72 leaving him four shots outside of the cut.

Meanwhile Wallace, who has yet to drop a shot this week, is determined to continue his meteoric rise and has recently started working with fitness expert Dr Steve McGregor, who counts former world number ones Rory McIlroy and Lee Westwood among his previous clients.

“I’ve got a brilliant team with the inclusion of Steve now, his history speaks for itself getting two players to world number one,” the 29-year-old Londoner said.

“Two great players obviously, but if he can do some of that magic to me hopefully we can get to that position or close enough.

“He’s taken a different role to what he did with Westy and Rory, he’s assessing what I’m doing during the week with my physio Harry and we’ll come up with a plan to get better and fitter and stronger and mentally stronger.

Tommy Fleetwood is five shots off the lead at the halfway stage of the British Open. Photograph: Peter Byrne/PA
Tommy Fleetwood is five shots off the lead at the halfway stage of the British Open. Photograph: Peter Byrne/PA

“For example, at Hilton Head recently after a first round of four over I’d go back and I’d be so annoyed and all I’d want to do is have a pizza and go to bed.

“Whereas if you look at the bigger picture it’s not about that four over, it’s about the long-term where you go back, don’t worry about it, get some good food, good rest so you’re better off the next day and that gives you the best chance of competing the next day.

“If it doesn’t happen, at least the day after that you’re going to be better and fitter to go and practice.

“If I look at the bigger picture of the next three or four years it’s very similar to Francesco (Molinari). Three years ago he wasn’t where he is now and I want to be doing what he’s doing, Ryder Cups and majors and competing at every single event pretty much.”

At 12 under par Wallace enjoyed a one-shot lead over fellow Englishman Ross Fisher, Scotland’s Richie Ramsay, Belgium’s Thomas Detry and Sweden’s Niklas Lemke, who came close to equalling a world record during a 64 punctuated by a 72-minute delay due to the threat of lightning.

Lemke carded eight birdies in a row during from the 13th to the second to fall just one short of the mark set by former Open champion Mark Calcavecchia in 2009 and equalled by Australia’s James Nitties in February’s Vic Open.

The world number 371, who had missed the cut in six of his last seven events, had the third-best stroke average in the history of Arizona State University behind Paul Casey and Phil Mickelson, but came close to giving up the game after struggling in the professional ranks.

“Three years ago I decided I was going to give it two years and if I felt I was getting better I would continue,” said the 35-year-old, who graduated from the European Tour qualifying school last year at the 10th attempt. “I made a two-year plan and committed to it.

“There are still some ups and downs but it feels like it’s going in the right direction.”

First-round leader Matthew Jordan is three shots off the pace after following his course record of 63 on Thursday with a 72, while tournament host Tommy Fleetwood and defending champion Eddie Pepperell are two strokes further back after rounds of 69 and 67 respectively.

Collated second round scores & totals in the European Tour British Masters (Gbr & Irl unless stated, par 72):

132 Matt Wallace 65 67

133 Richie Ramsay 66 67, Ross Fisher 68 65, Niklas Lemke (Swe) 69 64, Thomas Detry (Bel) 66 67

134 Marcus Kinhult (Swe) 65 69

135 Matthew Jordan 63 72

136 Victor Dubuisson (Fra) 69 67, Maximilian Kieffer (Ger) 69 67, Lee Westwood 66 70

137 Scott Hend (Aus) 68 69, Tommy Fleetwood 68 69, Guido Migliozzi (Spa) 70 67, Robert Macintyre 68 69, Ashley Chesters 68 69, Eddie Pepperell 70 67

138 Soren Kjeldsen (Den) 69 69, Robert Rock 69 69, Jack Singh Brar 67 71, Sean Crocker (USA) 67 71, Nacho Elvira (Spa) 70 68, Richard Sterne (Rsa) 70 68

139 Andrew Johnston 68 71, Lasse Jensen (Den) 68 71, Haydn Porteous (Rsa) 70 69, Jaco Van Zyl (Rsa) 70 69, Martin Kaymer (Ger) 68 71, Scott Jamieson 69 70, Robert Karlsson (Swe) 66 73, Liam Johnston 71 68, Tom Lewis 70 69, Dimitrios Papadatos (Aus) 69 70, Michael Hoey 68 71

140 Steven Brown 72 68, Hugo Leon (USA) 72 68, Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano (Spa) 72 68, Renato Paratore (Ita) 73 67, Lucas Herbert (Aus) 72 68, Paul Dunne 71 69, Pedro Figueiredo (Por) 71 69, Connor Syme 72 68, Jamie Donaldson 72 68, Gaganjeet Bhullar (Ind) 72 68, Tyrrell Hatton 70 70, Lorenzo Gagli (Ita) 69 71

141 Joost Luiten (Ned) 70 71, Nicolas Colsaerts (Bel) 73 68, Grant Forrest 73 68, Stuart Manley 71 70, Matthew Baldwin 71 70, Matthias Schwab (Aut) 71 70, Oliver Fisher 73 68, Victor Perez (Fra) 71 70, Gregory Bourdy (Fra) 72 69, Jack Senior 72 69, Bernd Wiesberger (Aut) 69 72, Gavin Green (Mal) 74 67, Nino Bertasio (Ita) 73 68, Oliver Farr 71 70, Jens Dantorp (Swe) 74 67

142 David Law 71 71, Oliver Wilson 71 71, Pablo Larrazabal (Spa) 71 71, Thongchai Jaidee (Tha) 74 68, Jason Scrivener (Aus) 72 70, Dean Burmester (Rsa) 71 71, Edoardo Molinari (Ita) 72 70, David Howell 72 70, Paul Waring 72 70, David Horsey 72 70, Richard McEvoy 75 67, Raphael Jacquelin (Fra) 71 71, Sam Horsfield 69 73, Andrea Pavan (Ita) 71 71, Fabrizio Zanotti (Pry) 73 69, Jordan Smith 68 74

143 Joakim Lagergren (Swe) 74 69, Joachim B. Hansen (Den) 72 71, Christiaan Bezuidenhout (Rsa) 72 71, Per Langfors (Swe) 74 69, Adrian Otaegui (Spa) 71 72, Louis De Jager (Rsa) 72 71, Benjamin Hebert (Fra) 75 68, Bradley Dredge 74 69, Anton Karlsson (Swe) 71 72, Kalle Samooja (Fin) 72 71, Christofer Blomstrand (Swe) 73 70, Kristoffer Reitan (Nor) 74 69, Matthew Cort 72 71, Nick Cullen (Aus) 73 70, George Coetzee (Rsa) 73 70, Lee Slattery 71 72, David Drysdale 73 70, Bernd Ritthammer (Ger) 75 68, Min Woo Lee (Aus) 71 72

144 Adri Arnaus (Spa) 72 72, Espen Kofstad (Nor) 71 73, Ryan Fox (Nzl) 73 71, Callum Shinkwin 72 72, Matthew Southgate 69 75, Kim Koivu (Fin) 76 68, Hideto Tanihara (Jpn) 73 71, Ivan Cantero Gutierrez (Spa) 73 71, Kristian Krogh Johannessen (Nor) 74 70, Deyen Lawson (Aus) 73 71, Jake McLeod (Aus) 74 70, David Dixon 70 74, Austin Connelly (Can) 75 69, Scott Gregory 71 73

145 Matthieu Pavon (Fra) 68 77, Marcel Siem (Ger) 75 70, Rikard Karlberg (Swe) 76 69, Jacques Kruyswijk (Rsa) 73 72, Aaron Rai 77 68, Max Schmitt (Ger) 75 70, Justin Walters (Rsa) 75 70, Wilco Nienaber (a) (Rsa) 72 73, Yusaku Miyazato (Jpn) 75 70

146 Tapio Pulkkanen (Fin) 74 72, Jeff Winther (Den) 75 71, Brandon Stone (Rsa) 71 75, Alejandro Canizares (Spa) 73 73, Zander Lombard (Rsa) 74 72, Sam Brazel (Aus) 73 73, Romain Langasque (Fra) 70 76, Daniel Gavins 72 74

147 Matthew Nixon 76 71, Ashun Wu (Chn) 73 74, Darren Fichardt (Rsa) 75 72, Chris Paisley 72 75, Adrien Saddier (Fra) 74 73, Gavin Moynihan 75 72, Tom Murray 76 71, Alexander Levy (Fra) 76 71

148 Ben Evans 73 75, John Catlin (USA) 71 77, Joel Girrbach (Swi) 73 75

149 Andy Sullivan 78 71, Clement Sordet (Fra) 80 69, Matteo Manassero (Ita) 77 72, Jonathan Thomson 71 78

150 Sebastian Soderberg (Swe) 76 74, Stephen Gallacher 73 77, Romain Wattel (Fra) 73 77, David Borda (Spa) 77 73, James Morrison 79 71

151 Shubhankar Sharma (Ind) 72 79, Wade Ormsby (Aus) 74 77, Conor Gough (a) 77 74

152 S.S.P Chawrasia (Ind) 76 76, Filippo Bergamaschi (Ita) 76 76, Max Orrin 78 74

154 Ricardo Gouveia (Por) 79 75

Cut to take place at end of Round 2 for scores of no more than 142

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.