Monday 11 December 2017

McGinley chasing Malaga lead

Paul McGinley in his second event following a knee operation. Photo: Getty Images
Paul McGinley in his second event following a knee operation. Photo: Getty Images

Paul McGinley could not live with the pace set by Welshman Rhys Davies last week but it was a different story for both of them when the Andalucian Open resumed in Malaga today.

Former Ryder Cup hero McGinley, in his second event back from a sixth knee operation last November, went to the turn in his second round in a three-under-par 33 and was only one behind leaders Soren Kjeldsen and Richard Finch.

Davies, on the other hand, was in severe danger of missing the halfway cut five days after his maiden European Tour victory when he covered the same nine holes in 40.

Four bogeys left the 24-year-old from Bridgend four over par, with the axe likely to fall on anybody not level par or better.

McGinley, now 43, included an eagle three at the 521-yard 14th in his run, but Kjeldsen matched that with a 30-foot putt as he continued his bid to win the title for a second successive year.

Former Irish Open champion Finch, from Hull, was playing with McGinley and he covered the back nine in 32 with birdies on the 10th, 11th, 14th and 17th, to share the lead on six under.

He and Kjeldsen were one in front of McGinley and Scots Paul Lawrie and Peter Whiteford. Former Open champion Paul Lawrie was among the day's later starters, but Whiteford was another to eagle the 14th and he also picked up shots at the 12th and 16th.

Swede Alexander Noren's hopes of qualifying for The Masters in two weeks were hanging by a thread.

Noren needs to win on Sunday to have a chance of climbing into the world's top 50 just in time for the Augusta cut-off, but after an opening birdie on the 10th lifted him to two under he dropped back to level par with six to play.

South African Louis Oosthuizen, runner-up to Davies at the Hassan Trophy in Morocco, is in the same position as Noren and a first-round 67, three under, kept the possibility alive.

Press Association

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