A 9-under par round of 63 moved Australian Brett Rumford into a commanding lead at the halfway stage of the Ballantine’s Championship in South Korea.
Starting the day 1-over par, and battling to make the weekend Rumford recorded four birdies in his outward nine holes before adding another five birdies without any dropped shots to come home in 31.
Rumford, who finished runner up in this event last year, leads by three shots from Denmark’s Soren Kjeldsen and Spanish Ryder Cup star, Miguel Angel Jiminez who carded rounds of 66 and 67 respectively to close on 7-under par.
Overnight leader Damien McGrane could only muster a level-par round of 72 but claimed a share of fourth place on 6-under par alongside Wales’ Rhys Davies and England’s James Morrison, who shot rounds of 68 and 69 respectively.
American Dustin Johnson ensured he’d be around for the weekend with a 3-under par 69. Johnson did all his scoring on his outward nine holes, carding four birdies and a bogey to turn in 33, before coming home in level par 36 and a share of 7th place alongside home player Sang-hyun Park, Englands Richard Finch and Swede Alex Noren.
Finch in particular will be livid with his level par round of 72. Starting from the 10th, Finch turned in 31 to move to 10-under par and tournament leader, but twice found water on his inward nine holes to come home in 41 shots and back where he started the day on 5-under par.
Some uncharacteristic unforced errors by world number one Lee Westwood saw him further back than his round had promised, but he still managed a 4-under par 68 to move into a share of 11th after his opening 72.
Westwood, who needs to finish in the top five to stop Germany’s Martin Kaymer replacing him at the top of the Official Golf World Rankings, admitted he was struggling with his putter.
“I played nicely, the same as yesterday, hit the ball nicely but didn’t really make any putts. The greens are tough to figure out,” he said.
Dutchman Robert Jan-Derksen and Thai Thongchai Jaidee, alongside Westwood make up the tipster three-ball. Derksen shot a 3-under par 69 to move to 2-under par and safely into the weekend. Jaidee also made the weekend, but scraped in on 1-over par following a level par 72.
Despite an eagle on the last, Ian Poulter is amongst the big names who won’t be around for the weekend. Poulter had given himself every chance of making the cut, but after a bogey on the 14th hole, he found water on the par-5 15th and the ensuing double-bogey effectively ended any hopes the Englishman might have held of making the cut.
It was also a disappointing afternoon for three-time Major-winner Ernie Els, who failed to make up for a poor first round; picking up three bogeys in his second round to finish two over par, a shot off the cut.