Daniel Brown is six clear of Alex Fitzpatrick – brother of former US Open champion Matt – and Spain’s Angel Hidalgo in Northern Ireland; top 22 are separated by four strokes at halfway stage of women’s event; Watch live on Saturday from 1.30pm on Sky Sports Golf
Last Updated: 18/08/23 8:58pm
Daniel Brown bolstered his hopes of securing a maiden DP World Tour title after opening up a six-shot lead at the halfway stage of the ISPS Handa World Invitational.
Brown added a second round of 66 to his opening 64 to reach 11 under par in an event sanctioned by the DP World Tour, LPGA Tour and Ladies European Tour, which sees male and female players compete at the same time.
Compatriot Alex Fitzpatrick and Spain’s Angel Hidalgo were Brown’s nearest challengers on five under par, with England’s Eddie Pepperell and Scotland’s Connor Syme part of a five-strong group on three under.
Brown admitted he was at something of a loss to explain his sizeable lead, although the world No 384 came into the event on the back of an impressive tie for seventh in the Barbasol Championship – an event co-sanctioned by the DP World Tour and PGA Tour.
“I think the last two events, Denmark and then the Barbasol in America, I had two good finishes there and I felt like I’ve done enough to keep my card for next year,” the 28-year-old said. “It feels as though the shackles are off a little bit.”
Spain’s Adrian Otaegui, who began the week ninth on the European Points List in Ryder Cup qualifying, was part of the five-way tie for fourth following a 68, but seventh-placed Victor Perez withdrew before play got under way on Friday due to illness.
This week’s event is one of three left on the DP World Tour in the Ryder Cup qualification campaign, with Luke Donald naming his six captain’s picks on September 4, while the women’s event is the last tournament in the race to qualify for Team Europe’s Solheim Cup team.
Live DP World Tour Golf
August 19, 2023, 1:30pm
Steen tops congested leaderboard
Marissa Steen carded a second-round 72 at Galgorm to grab a one-shot lead on a congested leaderbaord in the women’s event.
The American got the best of the conditions by going out in the opening group of the day, mixing three birdies with two bogeys to move to three under for the tournament.
“I told my caddie before we started just to stay patient today with how windy it was going to be,” said Steen. “This course is so exposed being so close to the water, so it was really all I was trying to do was stay patient. That was really my only thought.”
Germany’s Esther Henseleit sits in outright second place on the leaderboard after a two-under 71 at Castlerock, while England’s Gabriella Cowley is two strokes back in tied-third with Olivia Cowan, Kim Metraux and Ryann O’Toole.
England’s Georgia Hall and Bronte Law are both in the group four strokes back, while Stephanie Meadow is five behind and Ireland’s Leona Maguire heads into the weekend on three over.
Watch the ISPS Handa World Invitational throughout the week live on Sky Sports. Live coverage continues on Saturday from 1.30pm on Sky Sports Golf. Stream the best golf and more for £26 a month for 12 months with NOW.