Westwood moves into contention

Lee Westwood is quietly confident of a second Belgacom Open triumph in three years after moving to a share of third place at the half-way mark at the Royal Zoute course here.

Lee Westwood is quietly confident of a second Belgacom Open triumph in three years after moving to a share of third place at the half-way mark at the Royal Zoute course here.

Westwood carded a second- round 69 to move to eight under par and is tied in third place with Gary Evans, Roger Wessels and Marc Farry.

A four-times winner this season on the European Tour, Westwood, is on target to move back to the top of the Order of Merit after Darren Clarke missed the half-way cut with two 73s. "I didn't play as well as yesterday and missed a few more fairways but it's nice to be in there with a chance," said Westwood.

Clarke last missed a cut at the US PGA Championship last year and he had played all four rounds on the European Tour in his last 25 appearances.

The American Tom Gillis produced the equal-best round of the day, a seven-under-par 65, in wet conditions to move to the top of the leaderboard at 11 under, while Padraig Harrington carded 67 to move into second place, one behind on 132.

The Michigan-born Gillis, who has had seven unsuccessful attempts at winning his US Tour card, attributed his good score that included a run of four straight birdies over the inward nine to a relaxing week fishing and golfing in his native land. "I jumped in my car, drove four hours to the Garland Resort, where my friend is the head pro. Despite people questioning why I would go home for a week, it was the best thing that happened to me," he said.

"I fished from 7.15am to 10am, catching 11 pike in two days, and then practised every afternoon, but I came here this week at 106th on the Order of Merit and it would be nice to wrap up my card so I can go back home to do a bit more fishing and tidy up a few things around the house that I've just built."

Harrington opened his round by grabbing the lead with a hat-trick of birdies, and despite two bogeys, the 29-year-old Dubliner said he had no concerns with the neck injury that bothered him on Thursday.

Evans, like Gillis looking to capture a first Tour victory, recorded a 68, while Wessels added a 64 to his tally.

BELGIAN OPEN (Knokke) Leading second-round scores (GB and Irl unless stated): 131 T Gillis (US) 67 64. 132 P Harrington (Irl) 65 67. 134 L Westwood 65 69; G Evans 66 68; R Wessels. (SA) 70 64; M Farry (Fr) 65 69. 135 J-F Remesy (Fr) 66 69; A Raitt 66 69; J Coceres (Arg) 68 67; P Quirici (Swit) 70 65; R Davis (Aus) 70 65; A Raitt 66 69. 136 O Karlsson (Swe) 65 71; H Otto (SA) 64 72; P McGinley (Irl) 68 68; E Romero (Argentina) 69 67; D Park 68 68; S Gallacher 68 68; D Robertson 69 67. 137 T Levet (Fr) 69 68; A Wall 68 69; G Emerson 68 69; J Berendt (Arg) 69 68; J Lomas 70 67; N O'Hern (Aus) 69 68. 138 S Scahill (NZ) 65 73; A Forsyth 69 69; S Field 71 67; I Poulter 71 67; C Montgomerie 69 69; R Winchester 69 69; P Affleck 66 72; S Hansen (Den) 67 71.

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