Steady second round of 70 helps Kearney remain in contention

Maguire produces a strong finish to ensure her presence over weekend in Scottish Open

 Leona Maguire: produced a strong finish to her second round at the Scottish Open   at Dumbarnie Links, St Andrews. Photograph:  Malcolm MacKenzie/PA

Leona Maguire: produced a strong finish to her second round at the Scottish Open at Dumbarnie Links, St Andrews. Photograph: Malcolm MacKenzie/PA

 

Niall Kearney stuck diligently to the task at hand to remain very much in contention in the Cazoo Classic at the London Golf Club, although he will have to escape a weekend logjam if he is to claim a maiden win on the PGA European Tour.

As Dale Whitnell – enjoying home comforts for a change, his house just over a half-hour commute from the Jack Nicklaus-designed course –– shot a second round 68 to add to his opening 66 for a midway total of 10-under-par to assume the midway lead alongside Welshman Rhys Enoch, 33-year-old Dubliner Kearney navigated a route inside the top-10.

Kearney raced into the mix with three birdies on his front nine – at the second, third and eighth – only to stall coming home, suffering a bogey on the 13th and failing to find another birdie as he signed for a 70 to lie on six-under-par 138 in a share of eighth place, four strokes behind Whitnell.

Jonathan Caldwell, a winner of the Scandinavian Mixed earlier this season, ensured his presence for the weekend with a second round 72 for 142 (tied-42nd) but Cormac Sharvin slumped to a second round 82 for 153 to miss the cut.

Whitnell’s own season turned around at the Irish Open last month where he was the last player into the field as a reserve and made the most of his opportunity to finish tied-fourth and he has continued that good form while Enoch, ranked 470th in the world, produced a bogey free round of 65 to move alongside him as a career-defining weekend beckons.

Strong finish

For Leona Maguire, competing in the Trust Scottish Women’s Open at Dumbarnie Links, a strong finish to her second round was required to ensure her presence into the weekend at the tournament, co-sanctioned on the LPGA and LET, which saw Thailand’s Ariya Jutanugarn claim the midway lead after 66 for a 36-holes total of nine-under-par 135.

Maguire, currently 51st in the world rankings, and 11th on the LPGA order of merit in her rookie season, bogeyed the fourth hole and then ran up a double-bogey six at the 10th which had her freefalling and in danger of missing the cut.

However, the Co Cavan player responded to the challenge with a birdie on the Par 4 11th hole and then claimed birdies at each of the Par 5s on the homeward run, the 13th and 15th, to ultimately sign for a 72 to reach the midpoint on one-under-par 143 and in a share of 28th position, eight strokes behind Jutanugarn who birdied five of her closing seven holes.

Meanwhile, Co Down teenager Beth Coulter reached the final of the British Girls’ Open Championship at Fulford in England; the 17-year-old claimed a 4 and 3 win over Ellen Yates in the quarter-final and then beat another English opponent in Maggie Whitehead in the semi-final to set up a final showdown with Scotland’s Hannah Darling.

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