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Round two report
Renato Paratore added a second round 66 to his opening 65 to get to 11 under par and open up a one shot lead at the Betfred British Masters hosted by Lee Westwood.
The 23-year-old Italian reached the halfway stage without dropping a shot at Close House to sit a shot clear of South African Justin Harding and England’s Dale Whitnell.
Paratore, who is seeking a second European Tour title after his maiden win in Sweden three years ago, made gains at the first and 14th, as well as picking up birdies at all three par fives on the course – his pitch for eagle on the 17th stopping inches short of the cup.
Harding came storming out of the blocks with four birdies in his first five holes and added further gains at the seventh, ninth, 16th and 17th in a best of the week round of 63. Meanwhile Whitnell also kept a clean card, recording five birdies as well as an eagle on the 17th in his round of 64.
England’s Ashley Chesters, Dane Rasmus Højgaard and Scottish pair Calum Hill and round one leader David Law are one shot further back on nine under par, with another Englishman in Oliver Fisher and New Zealand’s Ryan Fox at eight under par.
Tournament host Westwood made the cut on one under par following his second round 71, as did evergreen Spaniard Miguel Angel Jiménez, who is three under par at the halfway stage of his record equalling 706th European Tour appearance.
Renato Paratore: “It felt really good today. I played really solid, especially the short game. I saved some shots when I needed it, so I’m very happy my game. It wasn’t so different to yesterday – always rain! The wind was less today. Yesterday was windy and rainy so today was better.
“I’m going to rest and do some exercise in the room because you can’t go to the gym. It’s obviously a different atmosphere without the crowd but I’m just delighted to be back out playing again. I like to play every week so for me it’s great being back.
“During the restrictions you just have to accept it. I tried to stay in good shape physically. I did not practise much technically but I just worked every day on the physical aspect.”
Dale Whitnell: “No bogeys through 36 holes helps. I’ve been working hard on my game, practising hard and this course suits me, it’s a little bit fiddly in places, you have to leave yourself at the rights side of the greens because if you don’t you are screwed.
“I’ve been making sure that my practice has been more focused in certain parts, putting different kinds of time into different places with my game, really getting out what I’m putting into it.
“I’m just trying to go about my business like I normally would, I’m not trying to play it up just because it’s European Tour and it it’s good enough, it’s good enough, if it’s not, it’s not.”
Justin Harding: “The biggest thing today was that I made a couple of putts. I rolled in a good three to start the day out and just rolled with it from there. I like to regard myself as a good putter so when they do start to go in I feel like I can get going and post a decent score.
“I kind of hung in there around the stretch – 11 and 12 were playing a bit tricky – but ultimately I was just trying to give myself a few more chances coming down.
“It’s obviously where we want to be starting the week. I’ve put myself there now and it’s just a matter of getting through tomorrow and then giving myself the chance on what would be Sunday, is now Saturday.”
Round two scores
131 R PARATORE (ITA) 65 66,
|Bad Times Register
Round One: No bad times
Round Two: No bad times
Home European Tour Paratore claims halfway lead at Betfred British Masters