Date: September 27, 2008

Fraser four off

Marcus Fraser is within four shots of the lead at the Quinn Insurance British Masters at The Belfry after play was suspended before the second round could be completed. Fraser was on three-over after nine holes before play was called off – leaving him two under the card overall and in hot pursuit of leaders Lee Westwood and Jeev Milkha Singh (six-under). A new European Tour record was created when Singh made it three holes-in-one in the day. Meanwhile, after a fog delay of more than three hours, Westwood added a 70 to his opening 68 for a total of 138. With half the field in on &aposPink Friday&apos – the players were helping to raise money for breast cancer charities – he led in the clubhouse by one from Scotland&aposs Marc Warren, Spaniard Alejandro Canizares, Thailand&aposs Thongchai Jaidee and Swede Alexander Noren. Colin Montgomerie improved 12 strokes on his opening 81, but on six-over was still looking at his seventh missed cut of the season. Westwood will not know until Saturday morning where his score leaves him at halfway as the hold-up at the start of the day prevented the second round being completed by the end of it. One of only two members of last week&aposs beaten Ryder Cup team playing in the event – Graeme McDowell is the other and after a tired-looking 75 for three-over he had to wait to discover whether he had made the cut – Westwood has a great opportunity to close in on Padraig Harrington at the top of the Order of Merit. An Order of Merit that could have added spice to it next season when the likes of Phil Mickelson and Vijay Singh, the number two and three players in the world, could be involved. Next year&aposs money-list race culminates in the Dubai World Championship, golf&aposs richest-ever event with a prize fund of $US 10 million ($AU 12,059,202). To be eligible for that, however, players have to become European Tour members and as things stand, have to compete in at least 11 events. Family man Westwood, who has given up his US Tour membership, will welcome it if some of the game&aposs leading lights also alter their schedules to fit in more European-counting tournaments. Told that the average tour player might be less pleased, he replied: “The average tour player will just have to practise harder.” He pointed out there were benefits for the circuit because the world ranking points go up the more top players there are in the fields. Westwood mixed two birdies with three bogeys in his first five holes, but a hat-trick of birdies at the start of the front nine shot him up the leaderboard. “I would hope to play better tomorrow,” he said. “I made a big effort and my scrambling was good. I&aposve worked hard on my short game and when I&aposm feeling a bit lethargic it can get me out of a bit of trouble.” There were holes-in-one from England&aposs Phillip Archer at the seventh and Spaniard Alvaro Quiros on the 12th – nearest the pin there on Sunday earns a Jaguar but it was only champagne on offer on Friday – but McDowell was unable to reproduce his form of last week in Louisville. “I don&apost know how to deal with this &aposcomedown&apos feeling. Lee has learnt how to deal with things better than I have,” commented the Ulsterman. “Physically I&aposm probably not all there, but mentally definitely – if last week was 11 out of 10 then I&aposm five out of 10 this week.” Of the later starters striving to snatch top spot away from Westwood Dane Thomas Bjorn and Swede Michael Jonzon were going best. Bjorn, returning from 10 weeks out with shoulder trouble, had three birdies in his first five and Jonzon four in the first eight. Darren Clarke needed a miracle to be around for the last 36 holes, though. He followed up his opening 80 with a six on the long third. Like Archer, Singh aced the seventh and it helped the Indian to his score of six-under and joint leader as both Jonzon and Bjorn had slipped back to four- and three-under respectively. Second Round of the British Masters (Par 72) Play suspended: -6: Lee Westwood 68 70, Jeev Milkha Singh 69 (after 12 holes) -5: Alejandro Canizares 71 68, Thongchai Jaidee 71 68, Marc Warren 68 71, Alexander Noren 72 (14) -4: Paul Lawrie 69 71, Sam Walker 68 72, Michael Jonzon 70 (15) -3: Phillip Archer 73 68, Michael Campbell (New Zealand) 69 72, David Dixon 69 72, Thomas Bjorn 69 (12), Ross Fisher 71 (12) -2: Soren Kjeldsen 73 69, Mikael Lundberg 67 75, David Lynn 71 71, Phillip Price 71 71, Markus Brier 71 (10), Peter Hanson 75 (10), David Howell 71 (10), Marcus Fraser (Australia) 67 (9), Gonzalo Fdez Castano 71 (8) Also: +4: Richard Green (Australia) 74 74 +7: Peter Fowler (Australia) 79 (9) +8: Scott Strange (Australia) 73 79 +9: Gareth Paddison (New Zealand) 77 (8) +10: Matthew Millar (Australia) 77 (15) +11: Peter O&aposMalley (Australia) 76 (14)