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Thornton’s maiden victory in his grasp

Less than a week after Graeme McDowell captured the US Open, adopted Ulsterman Simon Thornton is on the verge of breaking through for a first Tour success after moving to 10-under par after two rounds of the BMW International Open in Munich.

The 33-year old former Royal Co Down assistant professional carded a second straight 67 to leave himself tied for fifth place, just three strokes behind leader Bradley Dredge, who also signed for a five-under-par score.

Yorkshire-born Thornton married an Irish woman and has been a resident of Newcastle since 1997. It's only been this season, after five attempts, that he has earned full Tour membership.

He proudly wears a Team Ireland Golf logo on his shirt sleeve.

Thornton dropped just one stroke in his round and once again benefited from a ‘two thumb' putting grip — there were only 24 putts in his round, after Thursday's tally of 25.

“This is my first taste of really being in contention and I am looking forward to the weekend,” he said.

“But then I am treating it as just another two rounds of golf.”

Thornton capped his round by holing a 15-yard bunker shot for birdie at his eighth hole.

Peter Lawrie is next best of the Irish but carded a 73 to fall to five-under par while Irish Open champion Shane Lowry turned around a day-one 74 to make the cut with a second-round 66.

Lowry birdied three holes in succession from his 12th and then made sure of an eighth straight pay cheque this season with a birdie at the last.

However, Paul McGinley (71), Darren Clarke (72), Michael Hoey (72), Damien McGrane (70) and Gary Murphy (75) and missed the halfway cut.

Meanwhile, Rory McIlroy has withdrawn from next fortnight's Scottish Open, joining former Loch Lomond champions Ernie Els and Lee Westwood. All three have cited tiredness.

And former US Open and Irish winner Michael Campbell's career takes another turn for the poorer after the release of the draw for Tuesday's 36-hole British Open qualifier at Kingsbarns.

Campbell is the only former Major champion competing at the four venues in the St Andrews. Several Irish players, including Waterville's David Higgins and Birr's Colm Moriarty, are also looking to qualify.

l AN eight-under-par 62 from Justin Rose saw the Englishman build a five-shot lead midway through the second round of the Travelers Championship in Connecticut.

Rose, who earned his maiden PGA Tour victory at the Memorial earlier this month, set about doubling his tally at TPC River Highlands near Hartford with a bogey-free round just one stroke off the course record at the 6,844-yard, par-70 layout.

Following on from an opening 64 that had put him in a four-way share of the lead, Rose's lowest round of the year allowed him to reach halfway in the tournament at 14 under par, five strokes clear of Vijay Singh and Bill Lunde with half of the field getting their second round under way.

Belfast Telegraph

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