JAMES Hepworth has extended his lead in Northern Ireland as he closed in on the Â£10,000 top prize in the latest PGA EuroPro Tour event.
Hepworth (Ilkley GC) held a one-shot advantage going into Thursdayâ€™s play in the Galgorm Castle Northern Ireland PGA EuroPro Tour Open. But he performed well for the second day running as birdies at the second, third, sixth and tenth saw him go round in four-under, taking his total to -13.
His nearest challenger is James Webber (Three Rivers Golf Club), who went round in three-under and is currently on ten-under for the competition. However, Webber could live to regret his three dropped shots as he claimed bogeys at the fifth, sixth and 17th.
Australian Daniel Gaunt has continued his fantastic start to the 2010 campaign and he is again in contention to claim a victory. He won the opening tournament of the season at Wensum Valley in Norfolk, finished tied second after a five-hole play-off at Longhirst Hall and ended seventh at Bovey Castle last week.
Gaunt is likely to pick up more money from this event as a fine round, which included an eagle at the par five third, leaves him vying for the title.
He is joined in third position by Irelandâ€™s Barrie Trainor (Team Ireland Golf), who had started the day in second but dropped shots at each of the opening two holes.
Another Irish golfer, Michael Collins (www.foreireland.com), is among a handful of players on eight-under, while Ian Keenan will still be confident of glory.
There are a host of players on seven-under, including Craig Lee (Aspire Golf Centre), a winner last week at Bovey Castle in Devon.
Gary Wolstenholme (Carus Green GC) and Graeme Clark (Doncaster GC) have maintained their record of making the cut at every EuroPro Tour event they have played in this season.
The top 50 players plus ties will advance to the third round that will be played on Friday.
For full results and latest scores, please go to www.europrotour.com and click on â€˜Score Updatesâ€™ on the right-hand side.