British Open champion Shane Lowry and local favourite Matthew Fitzpatrick both fired seven-under-par 65s in the second round of the BMW PGA Championship to share the lead at the halfway stage on Friday.
The duo, who were tied for third after matching opening rounds of 67 on Thursday, went 12-under for the tournament at the Wentworth Club in Surrey to sit a stroke ahead of overnight co-leader Tyrrell Hatton, who stayed in contention with a 67.
“This morning was a beautiful morning. It was very cold at the start and the ball was going a long way, no wind and it was lovely to play,” said Irishman Lowry, who had seven birdies.
“Thankfully I took advantage of it and shot a couple of decent scores.”
Fitzpatrick was well on his way to better Paul McGinley‘s tournament record for the lowest score after 36 holes — 13-under set in 2008 — but a double bogey on the eighth hole ruined the Englishman’s chances.
However, the 26-year-old said he was happy with his seven birdies and an eagle on the fourth hole.
“This is my best position I’ve been here. I love the golf course. I’ve always felt it suited my game,” five-times European Tour winner Fitzpatrick said.
“I’ve never really kicked on around here… if I can just keep playing how I’ve been playing, make some putts as well, there’s no reason why I can’t finish it off.”
Harding had a disappointing day with a round of 81 while world number nine Patrick Reed, the Race to Dubai leader, climbed 14 places with a 68 for a share of 10th.
British golfer David Howell produced a moment of magic for the highlights reel, shooting a hole-in-one on the 14th.