Atwal eases off as Thomson responds before bowing out

Rotherham's Jonathan Thomson
Rotherham's Jonathan Thomson
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India’s Arjun Atwal remains the man to catch at the halfway stage of the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open, but saw his commanding lead trimmed to a single shot at Heritage Golf Club.

Atwal began the day four shots clear of the chasing pack after a stunning course-record 62 on Thursday, but could only add a second round of 70 to finish 10 under par.

That left the 44-year-old a shot ahead of England’s Laurie Canter and the South African duo of Dylan Frittelli and Louis de Jager, with pre-tournament favourite Louis Oosthuizen two shots further back on seven under.

“I was pleased with how I played,” said Atwal, who did not have a practice round at the venue following a 16-hour journey to the island.

“The putter was definitely not as hot as the first day.

“I was hitting the ball just as good but it is tough to follow up a 62 with another low round. I’ll take this one-under. I’m really looking forward to the weekend.”

Canter added a 66 to his opening 67 and believes his recent experience of gaining his European Tour card via the qualifying school has paid instant dividends.

“I’ve played so much golf in the wind recently through Q-School,” the 28-year-old said. “It just feels like I’ve played a load of links golf and that kind of stuff, so I felt quite comfortable out there for a lot of it.

“If you can drive the ball half decent around here you’ll have a fair few opportunities to score and get the wedge in your hand a lot. I’m delighted with the two days really.

“Playing in the wind is something that I would have said, maybe a year ago, that I need to do better. It’s something that I’ve worked on a bit with my coach to try to give myself a few more shots going into the green.”

Rotherham Golf Club’s Jonathan Thomson, fresh from winning his European Tour card at qualifying school last month, missed his first cut as a Tour member.

He did though improve on the opening round 79 with a far more competitive level-par 71.

Marc Leishman hit a best-of-the-week 65 to grab a share of the lead on day two of the Australian PGA Championship in Queensland. An eagle on the 15th and seven birdies led to a seven under par round for the Australian, who dropped shots on the 12th and 18th, as the Australian joined compatriot Adam Bland on 12 under par.

Spain’s Sergio Garcia slid into joint 10th after a double bogey on the ninth and bogies on the 10th and 18th. Huddersfield’s Chris Hanson has made the weekend after successive 71s.