Lucas Bjerregaard leads Hero Open after birdie burst in St Andrews
On a day when the start of play in the second round of the £1.7 million event was delayed by three hours and 20 minutes due to bad weather, the 29-year-old Dane produced a blistering run of six straight birdies on the Torrance Course at the Fairmont resort in the gathering gloom.
The brilliant burst followed five earlier birdies and one bogey, giving Bjerregaard a sensational 62 - it wasn’t a course record due to preferred lies being in operation - for a 15-under-par total and a two-shot lead over Callum Hill after the Scot, who is bogey-free for 36 holes, backed up his opening 63 with a 68.
South African Justin Walters (64) and Spaniard Santiago Tarrio (65) are a shot further adrift, with David Law (67) in a group on 10-under and two other home players, Grant Forrest and Richie Ramsay, also in the top 20 after rounds of 68 and 69 respectively left them on eight-under.
Bjerregaard, a two-time European Tour winner, sits 180th in this season’s Race to Dubai, having failed to record a top-30 finish in 14 events.
He started this one with a double-bogey 6 on Thursday, but he went on to card seven birdies in the remainder of the round and used the second circuit to show that his mojo could indeed be back.
“My putter might be the most valuable thing in Scotland right now,” he said, smiling. “I’ve never putted like that and I’m not sure I’ve seen anyone putt like that. That was pretty special, I’m a happy man right now.”
Hill, the overnight leader, was one-under for his opening 11 holes before picking up birdies at the 12th, 15th and 18th in a strong finish to his day on home soil.
“I’m pretty happy,” said the 26-year-old. “I’ve been solid, saved myself nicely and made a lot of good five to seven footers when I had to. It’s been good.”
Maintaining his recent good form, Law made an eagle and three birdies in a four-hole burst just before the turn before closing with nine straight pars. “I played pretty good but didn’t hole much coming in,” he said.
Following a bogey-free 67, David Drysdale also progressed comfortably on six-under, two ahead of Craig Howie, who made a big jump up the leaderboard on the back of his equally-polished 65.
With nine groups left on the course when play stopped on Friday night, the second round was completed on Saturday morning.
That meant Daniel Young, who was sitting on one-under, faced an overnight sweat before finding out that he would also be involved in the final 36 holes.
Elsewhere, Bob MacIntyre picked up four birdies in his last six holes to card a three-under 67, moving him to four-under and tied for 25th, in the second round of the WGC-FedEx St Jude Invitational in Memphis.
“It was a good round of golf today and it was good to play well,” said the newly-turned 25-year-old, who had birdied his final hole on Thursday for a 69.
“I felt like I have not been getting the scores of late that I have deserved and today finally I kicked on there at the end to get a score I felt like I deserved.”
As American Harris English cemented his two-shot lead after following an opening 62-65 to sit on 13-under-par, Martin Laird carded a 69 to sit a shot behind compatriot MacIntyre.