Chris Hanson holds a commanding five shot lead at The Michael Ward UK Open at Collingtree Park in Northampton following a fine second round 67.
Hanson (Crosland Heath – pictured) was in a pack of six players at two under par after the opening round of the first tournament of the 2009 Tour, but he instantly improved that with a birdie on his first hole – the tenth – with two further birdies seeing him go out at three under. The Huddersfield man avoided dropping a shot on the first seven holes of his back nine before birdies on the eighth and ninth holes ended his round in style – and gave him vital breathing space at seven under for the tournament (137).
“It’s a little extra cushion going in to the final day which gives me a boost and it’s a wake up for the others to get good scores, which puts them under pressure,” said Hanson of his birdie-birdie finish.
“My confidence is high going into the final round – I’ve played two good days of golf and I’ve had a fantastic caddy too. The fitness work I’ve put in over the winter is paying off as well so I’m really pleased.”
Hanson is chasing his second EuroPro Tour victory – his first came in 2006 at Bovey Castle – with three players five shots behind him on two under par (142). Two of them – George Woolgar (Capitalservices.com) and Kevin Harper (East Devon) – started the day at level par, with Woolgar producing four birdies in his move up the leaderboard and Harper one fewer in his. They are joined by Paul Streeter (Belton Woods) who produced his second round of 71 with three birdies and an eagle. Woolgar will tee-off with Hanson in Friday’s final pairing at 12.21pm.
A clutch of players are one shot behind that trio at one under (143). Steven Tiley (Club ISM) will count himself in the reckoning after shooting 70 to follow an opening 73 – although he will rue not pressing home a blistering start where he posted four birdies in five holes. Overnight leader Cian McNamara (Limerick) had a frustrating day and was unable to build on his opening round of 69, with two bogeys and a double bogey in his 74. Steve Surry (Cumberwell Park) fell from two under to one under with a 73, while Mark Ramsdale (Formby GC) consolidated his position with a solid level par round. Daniel Brooks (Mill Hill) makes up the quintet with a birdie on his final hole making the difference.
Nine players sit on level par ahead of the final day, which sees the 56 players at five over or better taking part in Friday’s final round.
Hanson was 66/1 before the tournament with the Tour’s official bookmakers Sky Bet, but with such a big lead, they have chopped him to 4/6 to close the deal. Harper is 9/1 for victory, Tiley and Streeter 12/1 and Surry 14/1 – [url=http://www.skybet.com/skybet?action=GoEvClass&id=34&aff=4527&EPT_Website]click here to place a bet with Sky Bet.[/url]
Full scores for The Collingtree Park Masters are available at [url=http://europrotour.com]www.europrotour.com[/url]by clicking on the Score Updates tab, where you will find live scoring when the final round begins at 8am.
Date Posted: 7/05/09, 8pm