13 October 2018: Eddie Pepperell strode into a commanding halfway lead at the British Masters after the Englishman carded a three-under second round 69 to move three strokes clear at Walton Heath, where tournament host Justin Rose signed for a level par 72 to ensure he is playing at the weekend.
Having claimed his maiden European Tour win at the Qatar Masters earlier this year, Pepperell is chasing his second title of a breakthrough season – the 27-year-old currently sits in 11th position on the Race to Dubai.
“It was pretty good today I would say. It was pretty chilly this morning and it’s a long drive out to the tenth tee, and it felt a bit of a lonely place out there, so it could have gone either way for me as it did for a lot of guys,” said Pepperell.
“I was kind of relieved to get my score in a decent spot early in the round because I didn’t feel like I was playing very well. Three under is a good score and I’m very happy with it.
“My short game and my putting have been very good, but my short game has been for quite a while now. I didn’t putt well last week and I never do on slow greens but I tend to putt better on quick greens – I’m focussing less on hitting the ball and more on stroking it down the line.
“I’ve got myself a lie-in which is nice after an early one this morning and it’s going to be a great weekend to look forward to. It’s a great course, great crowds, and I’m excited about it.”
He has made eight consecutive cuts since July, including runner-up finishes at the Scottish Open and the Portugal Masters, and the Oxford player continued that remarkably consistent form as he overcame the tricky windy conditions to card five birdies en route to an eight-under total.
That opened a sizable gap at the top, with the three-time winner this season Matt Wallace in second place on five under after registering a level par 72 not long before play was suspended overnight due to darkness. Frenchman Julien Guerrier was five under through 15 holes before play was called to a halt, while Jordan Smith was in the clubhouse on four under.
World Number Two Rose, meanwhile, signed for a level par 72 which will be enough for the 2013 U.S. Open Champion to make the cut after round two concludes on Saturday morning.