Belfast Telegraph

Josh (16) produces heroics as Todd out in front

 

Battle: Cormac Sharvin on his way to a 71 yesterday
Battle: Cormac Sharvin on his way to a 71 yesterday
Adam McKendry

By Adam McKendry

England's Todd Clements prevailed in the elements to claim a one-shot lead at the halfway stage of the men's side of the draw at a rain-affected ISPS Handa World Invitational.

Due to torrential downpours early yesterday morning, all tee times were pushed back by two-and-a-half hours, and it looked like the second round would roll over into early this morning.

However, some quick play saw all players finish their rounds, with Clements emerging at the top of the pile after an excellent four-under 66 at Galgorm Castle to hold a one stroke advantage at seven-under par.

The 22-year-old Englishman carded five birdies to go with a solitary bogey, giving him the slender lead over Spain's Sebastian Garcia Rodriguez, England's Laurie Canter, Italy's Francesco Laporta and defending champion Calum Hill, who are all on six-under.

"I've played great over the last couple of days. The putts have been dropping and it's the first time I've been out in the lead over the weekend so it's a new experience and I'm just going to learn," said Clements.

"I'm going to keep learning, keep doing what I'm doing, it's the same strategy and hopefully it all comes together for me."

It was not a good day for local players, however, as only four of the 10 Northern Irish players in the field made the halfway cut.

Amazingly, the best finisher was 16-year-old Galgorm Castle amateur Josh Hill, who backed up his level par 70 at his home course on Thursday with an excellent three-under par round at Massereene yesterday.

"Absolutely delighted with that. I knew the conditions were tough out there and just went out and played my best and that was good enough for a good score," beamed Hill.

"It was definitely a lot windier out there but me and my caddie managed to work through it really well and it was really good fun."

Meanwhile, Cormac Sharvin (Ardglass) battled back from a double bogey at the par-four fourth at Galgorm to card a one-over 71 to leave him at one-under for the tournament.

"I didn't play good today at all. I had to grind really hard and in the end I did well to shoot the score I did," said Sharvin.

"I still hit some good shots but I felt a little out of sync. I just knew it would be a grind from the off."

The cut mark fell at one-over par, with Ballymena's Dermot McElroy and Malone amateur Matthew McClean reaching the third round with a shot to spare at level par.

Among the locals to miss the cut were Tiarnan McLarnon, John-Ross Galbraith, Michael Dallat, Michael Hoey, Daniel Peacock and Tom McKibbin, while England's Richard Bland also missed out.

There will be a second cut after today's third round, with only the top-35 and ties qualifying for tomorrow's final round.

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