Jacquelin’s fine finish gives him edge position


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The Independent Online

France’s Raphaël Jacquelin claimed the halfway lead in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship yesterday as the luck of the draw had a major impact.

Jacquelin carded a second round of 70 in the pro-am event to finish nine under par, one shot ahead of Irish duo Shane Lowry and Padraig Harrington, England’s Oliver Wilson and France’s Alexander Levy.

Eleven of the top 12 scores came from players who were at Kingsbarns yesterday and Carnoustie on Thursday, when calm conditions meant traditionally the hardest of the three venues played relatively easy. Wind and rain made scoring more difficult yesterday but Jacquelin birdied his final two holes to move into pole position for a fifth European Tour title.

“I’m pretty happy, especially the way I finished,” said Jacquelin, whose last win came in the Spanish Open last year. “I birdied 17 and 18 so it was good before having dinner and going to rest.”

Lowry, who finished joint third in this event 12 months ago, was the only player in the top 12 to play at St Andrews yesterday, meaning he will face Carnoustie today before the final round is again played over the Old Course.

Harrington won the first of his back-to-back Open titles at Carnoustie in 2007 but has not won a tournament on a major worldwide tour since the 2008 US PGA.

Scottish duo Richie Ramsay and Chris Doak are two shots off the pace on seven under, with compatriot Stephen Gallacher another shot back and Gallacher’s Ryder Cup team-mate Rory McIlroy five off the lead on four under.

McIlroy, who is keen to make the cut in the team event so his amateur partner, his father Gerry, can play at St Andrews on his 55th birthday tomorrow, started the day nine shots off the pace and dropped back to two over par with a bogey on the 14th.

However, the world No 1 responded in style with a superb fairway-wood approach to the par-5 16th and rolled in the eagle putt from 15 feet on his way to a round of 67 at Kingsbarns. “I think the eagle on 16 kickstarted something for me,” he said