Luke Donald came back to the pack in the second round of the PGA Championship here on Friday and now shares the lead with Italy’s Matteo Manassero and Alvaro Quiros of Spain.
After his spectacular 64 on Thursday, Donald carded a one-over par 72, while Manassero was two shots better and Quiros shot a four-under par 67.
The trio are tied on six-under par with England’s David Horsey, Jose-Manuel Lara of Spain and Thomas Aiken from South Africa all a further two shots back on four-under.
Donald made a bogey on the first when he found two bunkers, missed a four-foot putt for an eagle on the par-five fifth and also found sand on the seventh before rallying on the home stretch.
“It was tougher out there today and I did not have the same control. But I didn’t come out and expect to play the same as yesterday,” the Englishman told reporters after his round. “I am disappointed I didn’t take advantage of some opportunities and some of the bogeys I made were weak ... but I came back one-under par for the last eight holes and I am still in a good position.”
Manassero, just 18 but with two Tour wins to his name, birdied the par-five last to get himself to the top of the leaderboard.
On the 20th anniversary of Severiano Ballesteros’ win in this event, many of the players and spectators were wearing the trademark navy blue sweater that the Spaniard used to sport.
And Manassero said the memory of the five-time major champion who died recently had spurred him on.
“It gives me inspiration all the time,” the Italian said, “especially today when we were remembering him. He was a special golfer and he always stays in my heart. He has been my idol and he will always inspire me.”
Despite his two wins Manassero is bracing himself for the biggest test of his short career over the weekend in the European Tour’s flagship event.
“I have never led such a big event,” he said. “It is really important for us on the European Tour, it is going to be a big crowd and there are two really good players leading with me. I will be nervous but I will enjoy it.”
Quiros finished with three straight birdies, holing a huge putt on the 16th and from off the green on the 17th, but attributed his good scoring to taking a conservative attitude on the course.
“I have been playing very, very safe which with the bad weather and how hard the greens are is good strategy,” the Spaniard said. “I hit a few really bad shots from the tee, but I holed two or three very long putts.”
With about one-third of the field still on the course, several big names were sweating on the cut, which is projected to fall at five-over.
US Open champion Graeme McDowell was right on the mark along with defending champion Simon Khan and Rory McIlroy.
Lee Westwood is safely through to the weekend however, after a 69 left him one-under for the tournament.