BMW PGA Championship Round Two Wrap-up
Post by Sports Writer Derek Clements
Scott Jamieson confirmed that he his on his way back to something like his best form after recovering from a dreadful start to his second round to claim a share of the halfway lead in the BMW PGA Championship.
Jamieson followed a bogey on the first with a double bogey on the third, but then birdied seven of the next nine holes, including four in a row from the ninth, to add a 70 to his opening 67.
It left the 33-year-old Scot on seven under par alongside Belgium’s Thomas Pieters and Italy’s Francesco Molinari at the top of a crowded leaderboard, with Germany’s Max Kieffer a shot behind.
Open champion Henrik Stenson, Lee Westwood, Branden Grace and 2015 winner Byeong Hun An were a shot further back on five under, while Masters runner-up Justin Rose eagled the last to make the cut.
Jamieson narrowly retained his card in each of the last two seasons by finishing 106th and 107th on the Race to Dubai. He should have won the Tshwane Open in March but slumped to a final round of 78. However, he finished third at the Indian Open and has been playing solid golf.
“To win this this would be up there with the Scottish Open,” Jamieson said. “I’m not in any of the majors this year so this is as big as it gets. This is the pinnacle of my season. It’s huge, it’s our flagship event. It would start opening up doors that have been closed for a few years. You want to challenge yourself against the world’s best and we don’t get to do that every week, but we do this week. Hopefully I can take a few of them down.
“I’m delighted, especially with the way it started.My ball was plugged in a bunker on the third and I thought it would take a good shot to get it on the green. Then I didn’t get up and down and at that point I would have bitten someone’s hand off for around level par.The last thing you need to do is panic. There are birdies out there if you hit some good shots and I’ve been playing well. Making birdies is something I’ve always thrived on. That’s where you get the buzz.”
Stenson is making only his second appearance in the event since 2010, a stark contrast to Westwood’s 24th visit in succession. “It’s nice to play a golf course where you’ve got to use your brain,” said Westwood, who was second in 2000 and 2011. “I’ve played patient and sensible golf and approached it a bit like a major – playing away from certain pins, taking irons off some tees.
“It’s hurting golf going to courses that are 7,600 yards, where the caddies can just hand you the driver on every hole and walk forward. I like the way the course is set up this week, nobody can have any excuses. The course is really fair and consistent, you don’t get too many bad lies or bounces. For a few years it drove people mad.
“I’ve played well here in the past and had a couple of chances and just need to finish it off.”
The £5m makeover to the West Course has won the approval of everybody in the field, with Pieters paying tribute to the greens, all of which have been reseeded and relaid since 2016. "I haven't seen a single spike mark. The greens have been great, really true," he said.
Ian Poulter struggled on the greens, but was quick to admit that it had nothing to do with the surfaces, and everything to do with his stroke. He described his putting as “pathetic” despite a 69 which was seven shots better than his opening round. He had 16 pars, one birdie and an eagle on the 12th to finish one over par.
“It was absolutely shocking today,” said Poulter. “Not good enough. Unacceptable. I don’t know how many words to describe how poor I thought it was to be honest with you. It was pathetic, it really was.
“My game’s in shape. I’ve hit 17 greens in regulation today on a tricky golf course, so I’m pleased about that. But 34 putts is just simply not good enough. Not from how I’ve been playing.
“I don’t feel comfortable from 15 feet, where in 2010 and 2012 I used to hole them with infinite ease. Something is not right, I’m obviously doing something different.
“An old faithful putter was in the bag to try and rekindle something but I might snap it in half by the time I get back to the clubhouse.”
That was a total matched by former Masters champion Danny Willett after a 73, while Rose and defending champion Chris Wood finished a shot further back.
Rose looked set to miss the cut after shanking a fairway bunker shot out of bounds on the sixth to run up a quadruple-bogey, but produced a grandstand finish with an eagle from 10 feet on the par-five 18th.
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