Top nations flounder on day two at wet World Cup of Golf
Irish duo Shane Lowry and Paul Dunne struggle in four over par second round
Shane Lowry and Paul Dunne of Ireland talk on the ninth hole during day two of the 2018 World Cup of Golf. Photograph: Scott Barbour/Getty Images
Thomas Pieters and Thomas Detry staged a wet weather clinic at the World Cup of Golf on Friday to give Belgium a share of the lead with South Korea, as the top nations floundered through atrocious conditions during the second round.
They are six shots ahead of Irish duo Shane Lowry and Paul Dunne who shot a second round 76 in Melbourne. Failing to take any momentum from their opening 64, their bogeys arrived on the fifth, 11th, 12th and 16th holes in a disappointing round.
Amid howling wind and driving rain at Metropolitan Golf Club, the unfancied Belgians were mostly seamless in the foursomes, shooting a one-under 71 to move to a 10-under total of 134.
“It was just like horizontal rain,” Detry told reporters. “So wind got up, wind didn’t drop, so it was just a tough day all round.
“I’m excited for my shower tonight.”
Overnight co-leaders South Korea were almost as impressive, with Kim Si-woo and An Byeong-hun combining for a 72, as only four teams in the 28-nation field scored under par.
Belgium and South Korea held a two-stroke lead over England (74), Italy (71), India (72) and Malaysia (73), who were all on eight-under.
A tournament touted as a gathering of top golf nations bordered on farce at times, as players trudged through puddles and bashed their way through thickets after spraying errant shots into trees.
Joint overnight leaders Australia stumbled to six-over by the 12th hole, the duo of Marc Leishman and Cameron Smith spending much of their day trying to mop up each other’s mistakes.
The pair rallied with three consecutive birdies from the 14th to remain in contention four strokes off the pace.
Thrashed by Europe at the recent Ryder Cup, the United States’ struggles in team events continued as Matt Kuchar and Kyle Stanley crashed to a seven-over 79 to fall 11 strokes behind the leaders, their title hopes all but shot.
With no let-up in the rain, tempers frayed.
English firebrand Tyrrell Hatton smashed a tee marker to smithereens with his driver after shanking into the trees at the par-four 10th.
His playing partner Ian Poulter played superbly to limit the damage, however, keeping England’s hopes of a third World Cup title alive.
They staggered back to the clubhouse after a 15-over round of 87, featuring three triple-bogeys on the back nine.
Second round scores and totals (Par 72):
134 Korea (Byeong Hun An/Si Woo Kim) 62 72, Belgium (Thomas Pieters/Thomas Detry) 63 71
136 England (Tyrrell Hatton/Ian Poulter) 62 74, Malaysia (Gavin Green & Ben Leong) 63 73, India (Anirban Lahiri/Gaganjeet Bhullar) 64 72, Italy (Andrea Pavan/Renato Paratore) 65 71
137 Mexico (Abraham Ancer/Roberto Diaz) 67 70
138 Scotland (Russell Knox/Martin Laird) 67 71, Australia (Marc Leishman/Cameron Smith) 62 76
139 Sweden (Alexander Bjork/Joakim Lagergren) 65 74, France (Alexander Levy/Mike Lorenzo-Vera) 66 73
140 Denmark (Soren Kjeldsen/Thorbjorn Olesen) 63 77, Ireland (Shane Lowry/Paul Dunne) 64 76
141 Canada (Adam Hadwin/Nick Taylor) 68 73, New Zealand (Ryan Fox/Mark Brown) 65 76, Finland (Mikko Korhonen/Mikko Ilonen) 66 75
142 China (Ashun Wu/Haotong Li) 66 76, Spain (Adrian Otaegui/Jorge Campillo) 68 74, South Africa (Dylan Frittelli/Erik van Rooyen) 66 76
143 Wales (Bradley Dredge/Stuart Manley) 70 73
145 United States (Kyle Stanley/Matt Kuchar) 66 79, Thailand (Kiradech Aphibarnrat/Prom Meesawat) 67 78, Japan (Satoshi Kodaira/Hideto Tanihara) 66 79
147 Venezuela (Jhonattan Vegas/Joseph Naffah) 65 82
149 Germany (Martin Kaymer/Max Kieffer) 68 81
151 Netherlands (Joost Luiten/Daan Huizing) 69 82
153 Greece (Peter Karmis/Alexander Tranacher) 66 87
156 Zimbabwe (Scott Vincent & Benjamin Follett-Smith) 72 84