Friday, 15 August 2008

Dougherty and Hanson take route 66 to lead the SAS Masters

Nick Dougherty and Peter Hanson both shot their second successive 66 today to take a 2 shot lead over the pack heading into the weekend. It's all going according to plan for Dougherty, who was amazed that only Martin Kaymer of his realistic rivals for a Ryder Cup place has taken the trip to Sweden - and is taking full advantage of he situation. On a course which proved fruitful for him last year, Dougherty wasted little time in settling in, holing his second from the fairway at the par four 12th (his third hole of the round) for a cheeky early eagle. No dropped shots and two more birdies gave him the joint overnight lead with Hanson and Spaniard Pedro Linhart, who dropped back today after posting a 74. Hanson had six birdies and two bogeys in his first round, a bogey at the 18th denying him the outright lead.

Friday saw Hanson take his turn to make a flawless round, finding birdie on the first two holes and two others to get to 8 under. Dougherty found hole 12 a little trickier today (he'd used up his luck on it yesterday), not holing out until the fifth stroke, but one more bogey was combined with six birdies leaves him too in the lead at 8 under. These two boys have mirrored each other so far, but Dougherty will be hoping to shake off his shadow tomorrow as he pushes for Ryder Cup points.

New addition to the professional ranks, Chris Wood, off the back off an amazing 5th place at the Open to win the silver medal there was making his tour debut as a potential money winner. He has once again shown he is comfortable playing at the top table and comfortably made his first cut in some style, sitting in 12th place at 3 under. One player missing the cut however is DJ Trahan, who will be feeling he made a somewhat wasted journey, having wasted a good chance to impress Paul Azinger while he mulls over his Ryder Cup Wild Cards. At least he'll have picked up some Air Miles...

The most interesting story of the tournament however has been the exploits of young swedish amateur David Palm. Anyone would forgive a young non-professional playing in his National tournament for having a scorecard beset with bogeys; Palms had eight, along with a double bogey on the par three sixteenth and a solitary bogey, a total of 79 blows, 9 over. Whatever the young man did last night and when he woke this morning, he should right it down as golfers round the world will pay handsomely to know. He'd certainly had his Weetabix. A player transformed, his card was banished of blue, not a bogey in sight, in itself an impressive turnaround, but young master David decided was in the mood to see red today and had eight of those shiny red birdies on his card to complete a remarkable turnaround and the round of the tournament, a 62. To put that into context, that is two better than the round of the nearest pro fellow Swede Daniel Chopra on 64, three better than scandinavian of the Danish persuasion, Søren Kjeldsen with 65. It is also a full seventeen strokes better than what he managed the day before and finds him just making the cut on +1 and jumping from 144th to T58th, phew.... Here's hoping he can keep that Friday feeling throughout the weekend...

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