Date: August 31, 2013
Author: Omnisport

Bond takes surprise Wales Open lead

Welshman Liam Bond claimed a shock one-shot lead at the Wales Open at Celtic Manor on Friday. Bond is ranked 1,528th in the world and was a late call-up to the event, being informed of his participation less than 24 hours before it begun. The 43-year-old has played on the European Tour just once, in 2011, but failed to retain his card after struggling to find form. But the local holds a slender lead at the halfway point of the event in his home country, after he shot a three-under 68 on Friday. That gives him an overall score of five under, enough to head overnight leader Espen Kofstad of Norway and South Africa&aposs Tjaart van der Walt. “I feel my game is still pretty good and I only found out I was playing on Wednesday afternoon so I didn&apost have any time to over-prepare like I have done in the past,” Bond said. “The pressure is off because I&aposm not trying to keep my (tour) card. “I only live 10 minutes down the road so it&aposs nice to be so close to home. I&aposll be at home with my slippers on this afternoon and a nice cup of tea.” Bond hit five birdies and two bogeys for the day, although he dropped a shot on the final hole, costing him an even bigger lead. Kofstad starred on Thursday with an outstanding round of 64, but he was brought back to earth with a three-over 74. He opened with four bogeys from his first seven holes and battled throughout the day, while Van Der Walt carded an even-par round of 71. A shot further back, at three over, are a group of five players, including Englishman Graeme Storm. Storm hit the equal-best round of the day, hitting seven birdies in a four-under 67. He is joined by France&aposs Gregory Bourdy, Spain&aposs Rafa Cabrera-Bello, Irishman Paul McGinley and American Peter Uihlein in a tie for fourth. Frenchman Alexander Levy and Englishman John Parry round out the top 10, tied for ninth at two under. Defending champion Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand is tied for 55th at three under. A host of big names missed the cut, including Spaniard Jose Maria Olazabal (+5) and Italian Francesco Molinari (+8). Spanish duo Miguel Angel Jimenez (+9) and Pablo Larrazabal (+9) and Northern Ireland&aposs Darren Clarke (+9) also missed out. Brett Rumford (-1) is the best placed Aussie in a tie for 11th while Richard Green is one stroke back and tied for 20th. Andrew Dodt and Scott Arnold were the only other Australians to make the cut. Both sit in a tie for 64th at four over par.