Donald plods course to make Ryder Cup move

On the day the Wentworth owner took the blame for the new 18th – which has threatened to suck the drama out of the famous finish and submerge it into the ditch – Luke Donald gave added credence to the theory that the West Course is now a plodder's paradise.

With a 68, the Englishman moved to six-under and into the lead at the halfway point of the BMW PGA Championship. Donald did so with minimum fuss and some, like his brother, would suggest with minimum flair. Christian used to carry his sibling's bag but, by mutual consent, recently switched to Paul Casey. His new boss also enjoyed a 68 and, at four-under, the defending champion might just represent the biggest threat to Donald winning what would be his first European Tour title in six years

"Christian calls Luke 'Plod' and he has plodded his way round very well," said Casey. "Luke's probably one of the masters of plotting his way round and it's no surprise to see his name at the top of the leader board."

Donald was not disagreeing. While many turned up, saw the changes and groaned, the Chicago-based pro thought "this is for me". With cavernous bunkers and tricky rough, accuracy is at a premium. "I've enjoyed the changes," said Donald. "You have to plan your way around more. And I don't mind the deep bunkers. I feel like I've a strong bunker game. If I'm in it's not too much of an issue."

The one thing Donald is not in is the Ryder Cup team. He is outside the qualifying positions and realises that, with a schedule predominantly in America, he will struggle to earn an automatic berth. "I've had two of the best experiences in the Ryder Cup in 2004 and 2006," he said. It's important to make that team and that's why I'm playing Celtic Manor in two weeks."

Donald is unashamedly wooing the captain, Colin Montgomerie. The latter called for his would-be players not only to appear at this, the flagship event on the European Tour, but also at the Wales Open. The biennial dust-up takes place on the Twenty Ten Course in five months' time and Montgomerie wanted his men to gain some experience. Alas, there has been a mass rejection of his request, with Donald one of the few to sign up.

"I'm very happy with how he is playing and delighted that he has made an effort to come here and to Wales," said the Scot, who also made the cut on level par. "It's super he is missing the Memorial tournament in America to play Celtic Manor. Luke's the type of player who can play with anybody, in any format." In other words, Donald can be fitted for his trousers. The only question is whether he does so by right or by wild card.

This weekend may prove highly influential in that regard. There is not only Casey in pursuit but also Ross Fisher on five-under, Padraig Harrington on four-under and Ernie Els, on three-under. The South African has received some flak this week for his redesign and, in particular, the overhaul of the 18th. Yesterday he showed it was possible to produce some drama, belting a stunning three wood and a seven iron from 196 yards to 15 feet. That was vindication for Els, who was against the radical change to the climax.

The owner Richard Caring decided to show up and say "mea culpa" and admitted insisting on the small raised putting surface, which makes it such an unattractive proposition from 200 yards with the new water feature in the way. Players such as Lee Westwood have stated that it is not worth the risk and have vowed to lay up – a shame for the fans.

Caring, however, has taken their criticisms on board and will call the bulldozers to lower the green. "Perhaps I was too brave and not knowledgeable enough when it came to the 18th," said the restarauteur, who counts The Ivy among his eateries. The plodders should feast while they can.

Second-round scores

European Tour BMW PGA Championship, Wentworth GC, Surrey: Second round (GB & Irl unless stated, par 71): 136 L Donald 68 68. 137 J Kingston (SA) 68 69; R Fisher 67 70; D Willett 65 72. 138 C Wood 70 68; P Casey 70 68; P Harrington 71 67; F Andersson Hed (Swe) 68 70. 139 R Gonzalez (Arg) 69 70; E Els (SA) 69 70; M Siem (Ger) 69 70. 140 R Ramsay 67 73; D McGrane 69 71; P Lawrie 71 69; R Finch 70 70; G Bourdy (Fr) 71 69; R Davies 70 70; S S P Chowrasia (India) 67 73; R McGowan 72 68. 141 F Molinari (It) 72 69; S Webster 67 74; T Aiken (SA) 68 73; G McDowell 70 71; C Schwartzel (SA) 70 71; N Colsaerts (Bel) 68 73; M Manassero (It) 71 70; S Khan 72 69; S Gallacher 69 72; R Green (Aus) 66 75. 142 S Kjeldsen (Den) 68 74; J Huldahl (Den) 74 68; C Montgomerie 73 69; R McEvoy 73 69; M Lafeber (Neth) 72 70; P Hanson (Swe) 70 72; D Drysdale 71 71; A Noren (Swe) 69 73; W Liang (Chin) 70 72; J Lucquin (Fr) 71 71. 143 N Cheetham 69 74; H Otto (SA) 71 72; A Hansen (Den) 71 72; G Maybin 68 75; S Strange (Aus) 69 74; P Hedblom (Swe) 71 72; O Fisher 72 71; P Broadhurst 71 72; R Rock 69 74; R McIlroy 74 69; J Rose 74 69; S Lowry 72 71; A Canizares (Sp) 72 71; J Donaldson 69 74. 144 R J Derksen (Ned) 71 73; Nick Dougherty 71 73; Peter Lawrie 70 74; S Dyson 73 71; T Jaidee (Thai) 76 68; P McGinley 71 73; L Westwood 70 74; H Stenson (Swe) 73 71; G Havret (Fr) 73 71. 145 S Noh (S Kor) 74 71; S Hansen (Den) 72 73; J Luiten (Neth) 71 74; R Karlsson (Swe) 75 70; D Lee (NZ) 68 77; P Marksaeng (Thai) 75 70; A Forsyth 75 70; R Cabrera Bello (Sp) 73 72; C Lee 69 76; P Whiteford 74 71; P Waring 71 74; D Howell 71 74; A Dodt (Aus) 72 73; M Brown (NZ) 72 73; D Lynn 70 75; M Foster 73 72. The following players failed to make the cut: 146 C Nilsson (Swe) 73 73; C Shave 69 77; F Delamontagne (Fr) 75 71; M Kaymer (Ger) 76 70; J M Lara (Sp) 74 72; R Coles 75 71; F Aguilar (Chile) 71 75; G Boyd 70 76; M A Jimenez (Sp) 73 73; A Canete (Arg) 76 70; G Fdez-Castano (Sp) 77 69; B Lane 72 74. 147 S Kapur (India) 79 68; M Ilonen (Fin) 69 78; M Erlandsson (Swe) 74 73; O Wilson 71 76; W Lin (Taiw) 69 78; P Price 72 75; A Wall 70 77; M Brier (Aut) 70 77; I Poulter 78 69. 148 C Cevaer (Fr) 72 76; R Bland 68 80; R Echenique (Arg) 72 76; L Oosthuizen (SA) 73 75; J Edfors (Swe) 71 77; R Jacquelin (Fr) 72 76; N Fasth (Swe) 72 76; F Zanotti (Par) 75 73; C Nirat (Thai) 74 74; M Watson (US) 71 77; J Randhawa (India) 74 74. 149 O Henningsson (Swe) 73 76; K Ferrie 73 76; M Fraser (Aus) 73 76; A Quiros (Sp) 72 77; E Molinari (It) 72 77; T Levet (Fr) 74 75. 150 J Lima (Por) 73 77; D Vancsik (Arg) 76 74; M Warren 75 75; D Horsey 76 74; M Jonzon (Swe) 75 75; S Drummond 73 77; S Benson 74 76. 151 G Orr 74 77; T Bjorn (Den) 76 75; P Larrazabal (Sp) 73 78; P O'Malley (Aus) 76 75; J Morrison 71 80. 152 D Clarke 75 77; S Little 74 78. 153 G Lockerbie 81 72; A Butterfield 78 75; S Whiffin 77 76; D Dixon 74 79; T Goya (Arg) 76 77; I Garrido (Sp) 80 73; J Lupton 78 75; P Martin (Sp) 73 80. 154 A Kang (US) 79 75; A Raitt 72 82; D Higgins 80 74. 156 B Rumford (Aus) 80 76. 157 J Quesne (Fr) 78 79. 159 C Gill 80 79; J Lee 81 78. 160 M Lundberg (Swe) 85 75. WD: M Hoey 75; S Dodd 80. RTD: G Storm 73; B Dredge 76.

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