Rumford surges ahead in Seoul

A superb nine-under-par 63 has catapulted Brett Rumford into a three-shot lead at the Ballantine’s Championship.

A superb nine-under-par 63 has catapulted Australian Brett Rumford into a three-shot lead after the second round of the Ballantine’s Championship.

Rumford, who started the tournament with a first-round 71 that left him well off the pace, rolled off nine birdies without a single dropped shot at Blackstone Golf Club on Friday to lead by three clear shots over nearest rivals Soren Kjeldsen and Miguel Angel Jimenez.

Rumford, a three-time winner on the European Tour, hasn’t won since the Omega European Masters in 2007, and is enjoying being back at the top of the leaderboard.

“I’m in a position now to be thinking about winning, that’s for sure,” he said.

“Maybe at the start of the week, not so, as I haven’t come into this week with that great of a form. But this is a funny game and it can change from week to week.

“I think the difference between today and yesterday is just the wind out there. It was a lot calmer and obviously a lot easier to control the ball coming into these very firm greens.”

The closest any golfer got to Rumford’s 63 on the day was Dane Soren Kjeldsen, who managed a six-under 66. Like Rumford, Kjeldsen also finds himself in contention after starting with a middling 71 in the first round.

Starting the day fairly quietly, Kjeldsen’s round ignited on the 18th (his ninth), where he started a run of six birdies in seven holes.

“Got off to a little bit of a slow start and then when I caught fire, I kept it going,” he said. “I think I made six birdies in seven holes I think, so I got it going so it was great.”

Spaniard Miguel Angel Jimenez followed up his opening-round 70 with a 67 to tie for second with Kjeldsen.

“I’ve been playing very well from tee to green,” said Jimenez. “And it’s very good with my driver, consistent. Like you say, my irons, they are very good. Very nice iron shots to the green, and I’m giving myself many chances for birdies.

A trio of players – Rhys Davies, James Morrison and first-round leader Damien Mcgrane – lie a further shot behind Kjeldsen and Jimenez, and four shots off the lead.

World number one Lee Westwood was much improved in the second round, shooting a four-under 68 to follow his first-round 72, but it still only leaves him in a tie for 11th, six shots back.

Westwood made plenty of birdies, but bogeys punctuated his round at regular intervals as well, as he struggled to find consistency.