McIlroy bows out of Hong Kong Open
Michael Campbell was not even in the world’s top 900 only four months ago but he leads the UBS Hong Kong Open at the halfway stage – and does not have world number one Rory McIlroy to worry about in an added bonus.
While New Zealand’s former US Open winner shot his lowest round for over six years, a six under par 64, defending champion McIlroy crashed out after four-putting his final green for a 72.
Five days after clinching his European and US Tour money list double with a closing eagle in Singapore, the 23-year-old Northern Irishman played his last seven holes in a shocking six over par to miss by three strokes.
“I just got on a slide and couldn’t stop it,” he said. “Obviously not the week that I wanted. I was only four off the lead and thinking I could make a couple more and be right back in contention. Unfortunately it just went the other way.
“I didn’t putt well last week and sort of got away with it. This week was the same, so I think a bit of putting practice is required in Dubai (The DP World Tour Championship starts there next Thursday).
“I think these couple of days off might actually do me good. It’ll give me a chance to rest. I think if I was completely fresh I wouldn’t have been making the mistakes.
“On the last I saw the projected cut was plus two, so I wanted to try to hole it (for birdie).”
His 30-foot attempt caught the lip, but ran on five feet and he took three more.
On nine under Campbell, now 43 and seven years on from his last win, leads by one from Spain’s Miguel Angel Jimenez, at 48 trying to become the European Tour’s oldest-ever champion, China’s Zhang Lian-wei and Swede Fredrik Andersson Hed.
Padraig Harrington did not make the cut either despite a closing par which included skimming his ball across a lake and back onto dry land.
Australian Masters: Queenslander Matthew Guyatt maintained his lead at the midway point of the Australian Masters, but tournament drawcards Adam Scott and Ian Poulter remained close enough to make a charge over the weekend.
Guyatt added a solid three-under 69 yesterday to his superb 65 on the opening day and now finds himself at 10-under overall for the tournament, two shots clear of New Zealand’s Michael Hendry, with Scott a further stroke adrift in third.
Englishman Poulter is another two shots back at minus five and shares fourth place with Tasmanian Craig Hancock, but the news was not so good for Graeme McDowell. McDowell couldn’t take advantage of a superb eagle-birdie start to the day and eventually signed for a 77, to be four-over for the tournament. That two-round score of 148 was one shot better than the mark for the halfway cut Guyatt was somewhat fortunate to get out onto the course nice and early, before the powerful southerly breeze reached its strongest gusts.
Poulter was one player who failed to make use of his morning draw, as the world number 16 had to settle for a level-par 72 as he attempts to become the second person after Greg Norman to defend his Masters title.
The best score of the day came from New South Welshman Matthew Millar, who made seven birdies and two bogeys in a 67.
Japan Open: Luke Donald fired a seven-under 64 yesterday to take a four shot lead after the second round of the Dunlop Phoenix. Donald finished on 13-under-par 129 at Phoenix Country Club. Japan’s Shunsuke Sonoda posted a 66 to move into second place at nine under.
Donald got off to a fast start with birdies on 10 and 11. He also converted birdie efforts at 13 and 15 to move to 10-under. The third-ranked player in the world carded three more birdies on the front nine to move four clear of the field.
Nicolas Colsaerts (71) and Ryo Ishikawa (67) are among six tied for 19th at two under.
South African Open: Henrik Stenson holds a commanding four-stroke lead after two days of the South African Open at Serengeti.
Since the start of last month the 36-year-old former Ryder Cup star has played in Scotland, Portugal, America, China, America again and now South Africa.
But his pursuit of a first win since May 2009 could soon be over after superb rounds of 66 and 65 put him 13 under par at halfway.
When play was suspended because of lightning, fellow Swede Magnus Carlsson (67) shared second spot on nine under with first-round leader Merrick Bremner, who still had four holes of his second round to play.
Gareth Maybin followed Thursday’s 73 with a 70 yesterday.