NOTTINGHAM, England — England’s Ben Taylor broke the logjam at the top of the leaderboard at the Brabazon Trophy, supported by Your Golf Travel, and is two shots clear at the halfway stage.
There was a five-way tie until the 23-year-old international came in at Notts Golf Club with a second round 70 to add to his opening 69, for a five-under total.
It puts him two ahead of the charging Scottish player, Ewen Ferguson, who shot five-under 67 in the second round and is tied on three-under overall with England’s Jack Singh Brar and Paul Kinnear. Later the fifth player, Lukas Lipold of Austria, dropped away with a second round 77.
Pierre Mazier of France holds fifth place on two-under, while three Englishmen are a stroke further back: Ashton Turner (Kenwick Park), Arron Wright (Enville) and Tomasz Anderson (Brocket Hall).
Ben Taylor’s round was rather more eventful than his first, bogey-free score, but it put him exactly where he wanted to be. “I had the goals of making the cut and putting myself in contention and I’ve achieved both of those,” he said.
Taylor (Walton Heath) had six birdies in his round, including four in a row from the third, but he also had a double and two bogeys. He summed up: “It was a little bit more adventurous than yesterday but I kept it together, stayed positive and hit some good shots for a pretty similar score. It’s good to get another round in red figures.”
Ewen Ferguson, a past winner of the British boys’ championship, scored two-over in the first round and was determined to be quick off the blocks today. He was as good as his word and was two-under after three, before giving the advantage straight back with bogeys on the fourth and fifth.
“That really frustrated and disappointed me, but on the next hole I hit driver, three-wood and holed from 4ft for an eagle,” he said. That got the momentum going - he had four more birdies, dropped only one more shot, on the 13th; and came close to a birdie on the last. “My putt lipped out,” he said. “But I’m not complaining on five under.”
Jack Singh Brar (Remedy Oak) had a bogey-free 68 which moved him 25 places up the leaderboard. It also provided some compensation for a disappointing end to his first round when he took a double bogey on 15 and a bogey on 17 to finish one-over.
Today he reached the 15th just as he did yesterday, at two-under par – and couldn’t help thinking back. But this time he walked off with a par and went on to birdie 16 and 17.
“I’m happy with my result after being disappointed with yesterday’s round when I deserved better. I just stuck to my game plan, played conservatively and plotted my way round,” said the 18-year-old.
Lancashire’s Paul Kinnear (Formby) confirmed his return from injury when he added a second round 69 to his opening 72. “I’ve been back to normal for the last two weeks and I played great out there today and yesterday. I’m excited for the next two days,” he said.
Among the other players to score 69 today was English amateur champion Nick Marsh who improved by six shots on yesterday and moved up the leaderboard to a share of ninth place. “I holed a few putts early on which got me going, although I still left a couple of shots out there. But it was solid,” he said.
Today offered perfect scoring conditions, particularly in the still air of the morning, and players who took advantage included Vaclav Lebl of the Czech Republic, who shot 67 to equal the low score of the day.
It was a 12 shot improvement on his first round and he said: “I struggled a lot with the long game yesterday, you wouldn’t believe how I fought for 79. I haven’t been playing well lately so I am really happy with this round and hope it will get me back.”
Other notable performances included that of Dominic Barnes (Caldy) who had the distinction of birdies on all three short holes in his one-under 71. It gave him a four-over total and he safely made the cut.
After today’s round the field was cut to the leading 60 players and ties who will play the final 36 holes. The cut fell on four-over par and exactly 60 players qualified.
Three Nottinghamshire players made the cut, including Chris Hurrell from the host club who qualified on four over (72 76) as did Lee Shepherd (Sherwood Forest, 73 75). Henry Alls (Radliffe on Trent) led the way for the locals, qualifying on one over (75 70).
Alls got the championship underway yesterday when he struck the first ball at 7am. "I was nervous and made a scrappy five down the first, but it was nice to do,” said the Nottinghamshire county player.