KILLARNEY, IRELAND // Ross Fisher missed a golden chance to score the first 59 on the European Tour at the Irish Open yesterday. After six successive birdies in a front-nine 29 and then four more in a row from the 11th, the 29-year-old Englishman needed a further two over the closing stretch - which included a reachable par five.
But Fisher missed from six feet at the 15th, could only par the 519-yard 16th and closed with two more pars for a 10-under 61. By breaking the Killarney club course record by three shots as he surged to 12-under 130, he improved his chances of a Ryder Cup debut. He lies 13th on the points table, but could leap to sixth with a victory tomorrow. "It was pretty flawless golf," Fisher said. "After a solid start I caught fire. It was a shame the run had to end on the ninth but then I got into another great patch.
"I gave myself four good looks at birdies at the last four holes but didn't make them, and had to be satisfied with a 61. "This is the start of three really important weeks for me with the Ryder Cup coming up," Fisher said. "And this gives me a lot of confidence knowing I can make a lot of birdies." Three-time major winner Padraig Harrington, who is also hoping to qualify for the Ryder Cup, carded a 67.
Denmark's Anders Hansen (68), Spain's Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano (69), South Korea's Noh Seung-yul (69), Australia's Brett Rumford (69) and Northern Ireland's Michael Hoey (69) were also five shots behind Fisher. Taiwan's Yani Tseng took an early four-stroke lead in the second round of the Women's British Open yesterday after shooting a second consecutive four-under 68 at Royal Birkdale. Tseng had five birdies and a bogey to finish at eight-under 136 going into the weekend.
"There was no wind this morning and it was very calm, so it was nice out there," the two-time major winner said. "The course played totally different than what we played the last three days, so it was really nice. I feel very confident and if I stay patient over the weekend and just keep playing the way I'm playing I have a good chance." Meanwhile, Siddikur opened a two-shot lead at the halfway point of the Brunei Open after the Bangladesh golfer posted a second-round 67 to move to 11-under par.
His four-under effort at the Empire Hotel and Country Club saw him move clear of overnight leader Thammanoon Srirot, who carded a 71, and Australian Adam Groom, who fired a 68. "I'm very happy and excited with my total score as this is the first time I have been 11-under par after the second round," said Siddikur, 25, who is bidding to become the first Bangladeshi to win on the Asian Tour. Thammanoon bemoaned a cold putter for his level-par return. "I couldn't hole any putts out there after my birdie on three," he said.