Paul McGinley's flying start to the BMW PGA Championships continued when the Irishman's second round of 66 took him to a record 13-under, four strokes clear of Robert Karlsson of Sweden, on Friday.
The Irishman's total of 131 for two rounds is a record low score for 36 holes in the BMW PGA event, beating the 12-under record of Ernie Els, set in 1994.
But while McGinley made the most of his rich vein of form, a forlorn Els exited the West Course without a word, knowing that his second round 73, leaving him four-over, would ensure that he missed the cut in the BMW PGA Championship for the first time since 1992.
Els was not the only big name to tumble out of the tournament, with Colin Montgomerie of Scotland, South African Richard Sterne, Ireland’s Rory McIlroy, Jean Van de Velde of France, Dane Thomas Bjorn and McGinley’s compatriot, Darren Clarke, among those missing the cut.
McGinley’s second round came to life when he took just 31 strokes to cover the back nine, with four birdies and an eagle on the last hole lifting him clear of his rivals.
Karlsson, on nine-under McGinley’s closest rival, may now be wondering if the Irishman can be caught. The Swede surged to the top of the leaderboard at lunchtime, only to watch McGinley recapture the initiative in the afternoon. The 39-year-old Karlsson followed up his first round 66 with another strong performance, scoring five birdies in his 69, including three consecutive birdies in the final three holes.
Also on nine-under was Miles Tunnicliff of England, whose 65 equaled McGinley’s new course record.
A shot further back was 27-year-old Englishman Oliver Wilson after a second round 66, that included an eagle and four birdies. Wilson was joined on eight-under, late in the afternoon, by Dane Soren Kjeldsen, after he also carded a 65, which included eight birdies.
But Wilson’s compatriot Lee Westwood, currently third in the European Tour order of merit, had differing fortunes, when he was forced to retire feeling unwell after six holes of his second round.
While Westwood headed back to his hotel room, fellow Ryder Cup luminary Montgomerie was as wayward in his second round 75 as he was in his first round.
Last season’s European No. 1 Justin Rose was another big name heading home after a 73 left him on five-over.
■ CROWNE PLAZA
AFP, FORT WORTH, TEXAS
Phil Mickelson, saying he probably putted the best he has all year, fired a two-under 68 on Friday to grab a one-stroke lead after the second round of the Crowne Plaza Invitational.
On a windy day at Colonial Country Club, the left-hander finished 36 holes in the US$5.5 million event at seven-under 133 with three other Americans — Brian Gay, Matt Kuchar and first-round leader Johnson Wagner — on 134.
Second-ranked Mickelson, who began his second round on the second nine in the morning, was one-over through eight holes, but birdies three holes in a row starting at the 18th helped him seize the lead.
He followed with par saves on the next three holes, rescuing each after finding a green-side bunker. Mickelson made only 25 putts, going six-for-six in par saves from the sand.
■ CORNING CLASSIC
AFP, CORNING, NEW YORK
US veteran Dina Ammaccapane fired her second three-under 69 in a row to seize a one-stroke lead on Friday after the second round of the LPGA Corning Classic.
The 39-year-old American, seeking the first title of her 18-year LPGA career, made six birdies — four in a row starting at the fifth hole — and three bogeys for the second consecutive day.