Donald reeled in, now shares lead
Luke Donald was still in the lead after Friday’s 2nd round at Wentworth – but he was no longer alone.
Luke Donald was still in the lead after Friday’s second round of the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth – but he was no longer alone heading into what could well be a weekend of high drama on a tough course.
Donald, the overnight leader after some immaculate, world class golf had produced a sparkling 64 in the first round, could only manage a second-round 72 on Friday when the weather was clearly superior and it allowed the ever-improving, ever-growing Italian 18-year-old Matteo Manassero and the big-hitting Spanish bomber Alavoro Quiros to catch him at 6-under.
Manassero, who trailed Donald by two shots after shooting a first round 66, joined the Englishman at the top of the leaderboard with a 70 on Friday, but clearly the story of the round was Quiros’s matching best-of-the day 4-under 67 that left the tall, side-burned Spaniard delighted at finding himself rocketing into a share of the lead with three birdies on three closing holes that had brought grief to a good few players and had been heavily criticised by Ian Poulter
South Africa’s Thomas Aiken, who won his first European Tour title at the Spanish Open earlier this month, also made up a lot of ground in matching Quiros’s 67 on a course where the tees had been put back and some stiffer pin placements had been established.
His Friday heroics moved him up into joint 4th place, just two shots off the pace, and clearly established him as a real threat to the three front runners.
Lee Westwood, needing to finish ahead of Donald to prevent his compatriot snatching the World Number One spot this week, also had a good second day. He reduced the arrears from eight shots to five with a two-under-par 69.
Manassero continued to belie his tender years with his composed one-one 70 and his maturity much impressed Donald.
“I’m impressed with him in general,” said Donald. “I think to have done as well as he has done at such a young age is very impressive. I suppose he has a somewhat similar game to me – he doesn’t overpower courses.”
This year’s Omega Dubai Desert Classic winner Quiros, whose driving power makes him the very opposite, showed touches of Seve magic on a day when most players wore navy blue in celebration of the 20th anniversary of the late Seve Ballesteros’s first win in this event.
Quiros did this by nailing a monster putt at the 16th, chipping in at the nasty 17th and finishing with a magnificent bunker shot to five feet for a third straight birdie at the controversial 18th,
But he wasn’t allowing his stunning late charge to go to his head.
“It’s halfway, Quiros said. “We still have two rounds to play and a lot of things, good and bad, could still happen.
“hit a few really bad shots from the tee, but at the same time, I holed two or three very long putts, partly because generally I was always putting from the proper side of the green.
“I’ve been playing very, very safe, so I think it’s a good thing, considering the bad weather and the greens and how hard the greens are.
“They are tough and quick. It’s a good strategy and probably is giving me bonuses without me hitting the ball great.”
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