Sports Update: Mixed round for Ireland’s Dunne as Pepperell edges into the lead at British Masters

Defending champion Paul Dunne hit three bogeys and a double-bogey in the second round.

DEFENDING CHAMPION PAUL Dunne endured a mixed second round at the British Masters, carding a one-over 73 in Surrey.

The Greystones man was just three off the lead at the end of the opening round but three bogeys and a double-bogey on Friday has seen him slip further back.

There were some positives for Dunne however, hitting three birdies and an eagle to keep his challenge alive.

Fellow Irish man Shane Lowry also suffered a mixed day during the second round at Walton Heath, but he became the second player in as many days to record a hole-in-one at the event to pocket a neat £20,000 from the tournament sponsors for his ace at the par-three fifth.  

The Offaly man sits on two-over for the tournament while Padraig Harrington is further back, carding a two-over 74 at the end of the second round. 

Meanwhile, Eddie Pepperell has opened a three-stroke lead at the halfway point as Ryder Cup hero Tommy Fleetwood tumbled down the leaderboard.

Pepperell and Fleetwood were in a four-way share of the lead after matching 67s in the opening round, but the latter slumped to a 77 in round two after he failed to make a single birdie.

In contrast, Pepperell’s 69 left him eight-under going into the weekend with compatriot Matt Wallace his nearest challenger.

Frenchman Julien Guerrier was also five-under with three holes remaining when play was suspended due to darkness.

“I felt very comfortable. Frankly I feel like I’m not hitting the ball that well, really. I feel like there’s a lot more for me in terms of that department,” said Pepperell.

“Clearly I’ve putted well, and I’ve thought my short game has been good, and I’ve hung in there in tough conditions over 36 holes.

“I’m in a good spot. I’m going to keep pushing. There’s nothing else I can do.”

Pepperell claimed his first European Tour title in Qatar in February. He has also recorded two runners-up finishes and tied for sixth in the British Open at Carnoustie.

“I think I’ve made quite a big stride mentally the last 18 months,” he said. “I remember at the Scottish Open feeling very comfortable on the Sunday. I thought I was going to win all the way and I wouldn’t have felt that before.”

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– © AFP 2018 

Additional reporting by Sinéad Farrell.

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