Graeme Storm is just four shots of the lead in the British Masters at Close House following a three under-par second round of 67.
Storm, who added to his five under-par opening round to get to eight under-par for the tournament – four shots behind leader Tyrell Hatton, said: “I played really well again today in the toughest of the conditions.
“We were off and on with the waterproofs all day and the rain got heavy at times. I managed to keep myself in contention by holing some nice putts for pars in that heavy rain, having got off to a nice start with birdies at 12, 13 and 14 [starting from the 10th tee].”
Storm dropped his only shot of the day at the 18th, which played as the toughest hole in Thursday’s opening round, before making a birdie at the par five sixth to get back to eight under-par.
“Scoring got tougher as the rain came and it was tough to get the right pace on the greens but I was in good positions had the putts not dried up a little bit.
“Overall I’m happy with the round. I think Tyrell will probably be leading at the end of the day and I’m in a good spot four behind,” added Storm.
Hatton jumped to the top of the leaderboard on Friday by adding a five under-par 65 to his opening round of 63 – getting off to a flying start with a birdie on the 10th and adding five more birdies and one dropped shot.
Meanwhile, tournament host Lee Westwood is just three shots behind Hatton following a second round 65. Westwood, who is yet to drop a shot this week, said: “I played solid again. I made a couple more putts than yesterday and didn’t make too many mistakes.
“I’m in a good position. I would have liked to have picked up a couple more shots coming in but didn’t birdie the par five up the hill [sixth] and missed a couple of other chances. Nine under-par is a good spot and I’ll have a lie-in tomorrow morning.”
Elsewhere, Close House’s Jonathan Lupton shot a second round of 72 to finish his tournament on four over-par.
“It’s been an amazing two days, I’ve loved every minute of it,” said Lupton, who played the opening two rounds with a rib injury.
“I was hurting this morning but I got a quick shot of local anesthetic to make it through the round.
“I had another great start this morning but was fighting it a bit. I loved being back under pressure in a golf tournament and it was an amazing experience.”
Northern Golfer columnist Chris Paisley gave himself a chance to make the cut, reaching three under-par for his second round through 11 holes before failing to convert birdies chances coming home to close on level par for the event – two adrift of the projected cut.
He said: “I gave myself a few chances to get into the weekend but just wasn’t quite close enough.
“I enjoyed my round a lot more today – having put a lot of pressure on myself yesterday and not enjoyed it. Today I just wanted to have fun and give it a go. I played really well, drove the ball great which has been my weakness in the last couple of years, and just have a bit too much to do.
“Playing in front of a home crowd was amazing. I made a point of enjoying my time playing in front of so many people I know and I loved it.”