Tommy Fleetwood shot a Carnoustie course-record 63 to claim a share of the halfway lead with defending champion Tyrrell Hatton at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.
Fleetwood, leader in the Race to Dubai standings, shot a blemish-free nine-under-par round at the venue for next year’s Open to join Hatton on 11 under.
Hatton, who was also playing his second round in the three-course event at Carnoustie, did not drop a shot either in a seven-under-par 65.
The pair led by one shot from Belgium’s Nicolas Colsaerts, who shot 67 at St Andrews after recovering from a double bogey on his first hole.
First-round co-leader Paul Dunne was in a tie for fourth at nine under with Germany’s Marcel Siem after carding 68 at Carnoustie.
World number six Rory McIlroy, hoping to end a frustrating year with a win, was overshadowed by Fleetwood, who was one of his playing partners.
McIlroy ended the day 11 shots off the lead on level par after a 71 which included a double bogey seven on the sixth hole. With the cut coming after 54 holes, the Northern Irishman is not yet out of the tournament but he must make up a lot of ground as he plays Kingsbarns on Saturday.
After 36 holes:
— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) October 6, 2017
Fleetwood’s impressive round included a run of five successive birdies on the back nine. He almost extended that sequence to six when a birdie putt from off the green on the 16th narrowly missed the hole. He might even have had an eagle on 15th too when his second shot at the par four bounced onto the green and hit the flag.
He finished his round in style by picking up his ninth birdie at the 18th.
Fleetwood, who became a father for the first time last week, was asked after his round how it felt to break the course record.
The 26-year-old told Sky Sports: “It sounds good doesn’t it? You don’t really think too much about it when you are playing but then I holed that one on the last and they said it was a course record. So, all in all, it was a good day’s work!”
Dunne slipped back after a bogey on his second hole but responded with six birdies before dropping another shot at the 17th.
Ayla Golf Club is getting ready to host the first MENA Tour event in Jordan, signalling the dawn of a new era for golf in the land of mesmerising natural beauty.
The inaugural Ayla Golf Championship will see MENA Tour patron Darren Clarke join a strong field as they navigate Jordan’s first 18-hole all-grass championship golf course, designed by two-time major winner Greg Norman, in Aqaba starting from Thursday.
Overlooking the scenic views of the Red Sea, the course is considered Norman’s top three most sustainable golf courses, featuring solar-powered floodlights and eco-friendly paspallum grass that is fed using water from 19 wells.
“For us to be considered as a venue capable of hosting our first professional golf tournament within our first year of operation is both testament to the quality of the product as well as our collective team’s desire to showcase Ayla, Aqaba and, indeed Jordan, to a global audience,” said Sahl Dudin, managing director of Ayla.
With three of the top five on the Order of Merit standings, currently led by England’s Jamie Elson, it promises to be an absorbing contest before the winner is crowned on Saturday.
Elson (23,453 points) is followed by Sweden’s Fredrik From (19,021) while Luke Joy, is placed fifth with 16,420 points. There is one more event — the Sahara Kuwait Golf Championship — to go before the season-ending Tour Championship later this month.
Lucas Bjerregaard has all but secured his place in the season ending DP World Tour Championship in Dubai, after winning his maiden European Tour event at the Portugal Masters.
The 26-year-old, who won the inaugural GolfSixes event in May with compatriot Thorbjorn Olesen, started the last day with a one-stroke advantage and never looked like letting it slip as he finished the tournament on 20 under par.
The only player who put pressure on the 387th-ranked Bjerregaard was George Coetzee, but the South African ran out of steam on the back nine before posting a triple bogey on the 18th hole.
That allowed Marc Warren to finish second alone on 16-under overall.
The result sees Bjerregaard’s season tally grow to 582,062 points, placing him in prime position to qualify for the DP World Tour Championship in November.
Warren’s lone runner-up finish at the Portugal Masters earned him a useful haul of 222,220 points.
The Scotsman now jumps from 173rd to 100th place in the Race to Dubai rankings with a season total of 317,075 points.
Englishman Tommy Fleetwood remains at the head of the Race to Dubai Rankings with 3,771,122 points, whilst Spaniard Sergio Garcia is in second with 2,799,255 points and his young compatriot Jon Rahm sits in third on 2,761,857.