McGinley just two behind leader Sjoholm in Cologne

 

EUROPEAN TOUR:CHILEAN-BORN Joel Sjoholm, adopted by a Swedish couple when three months old, is the halfway leader at the BMW International Open in Cologne. Sjoholm, dressed in his now customary plus-fours, eagled both the 577-yard 16th and 546-yard third for a superb 66 in the windy conditions at Gut Larchenhof.

A closing birdie took the 26-year-old, 306th in the world and chasing his first European Tour win, to 11 under par. He enters the third round two ahead of Ireland’s Paul McGinley, English pair Chris Wood and Danny Willett and Paraguayan Fabrizio Zanotti.

Local favourite Martin Kaymer, at 13th the highest-ranked player in the field, missed the cut, but 54-year-old compatriot Bernhard Langer shot 67 and at five under is not out of the hunt yet.

Swede Sjoholm, with a best finish on the circuit of third in Sicily last year, followed his first eagle with back-to-back bogeys.

But it was a different tale after the second one. He added birdies on the fifth and ninth to go clear in the race for a first prize of just under €270,000.

McGinley, now 45 and front-runner to captain Europe in the 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles, has not won for seven years but his career appears to be on the rise again. He finished seventh in Korea in April, but on his last start in Wales three weeks ago produced a closing 65 for sixth place.

The Dubliner began his 518th Tour event with another 65 and then added a 70 like Wood and Willett. “It was much tougher – a real good test of golf,” said McGinley. “You had to work the ball and it’s very important to keep it on the fairways.”

He had an eagle on his card for the second day running, making a 20-foot putt at the third before finding the target as well with a 20-foot birdie attempt three holes later. Former amateur internationals Wood and Willett have yet to register their first victories.

Wood is best known for finishing fifth in the 2008 Open as an amateur and then coming third a year later at Turnberry, while Willett was a team-mate of Rory McIlroy in the 2007 Walker Cup – against an American side that included new US Open champion Webb Simpson, Rickie Fowler and Dustin Johnson.

Zanotti had shared the first-round lead with Marcus Fraser, but managed only a 71 while the Australian fell five behind with a 74.

US TOUR: Fredrik Jacobson held the clubhouse lead on nine under par midway through the second round of the Travelers Championship on another day of low scoring at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell.

The Swede followed up his 65 on Thursday with a four-under-par 66 to hold a two-shot lead over a group of five players – American trio Blake Adams, Roland Thatcher, Charley Hoffman, and Australian duo Stuart Appleby and Nathan Green.

Pádraig Harrington was level for his round through five holes – to maintain his one-under par total – when play was suspended due to inclement weather.

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