Date: April 04, 2009
Author: PA Sport and Sportal

McGowan maintains pace in Portugal

A two-over-par round of 73 was good enough for England&aposs Ross McGowan to retain the lead at the Portuguese Open in windy Cascais on Saturday morning. And the 26-year-old warned that if conditions get even worse tomorrow – as predicted – then Oitavos Dunes will be &aposalmost unplayable.&apos After reaching halfway on five under par, McGowan, who had opened with a 64, said: “The front nine is brutal really.” “The wind was gusting and the greens are getting firmer. You&aposve just got to dig in, take your chances and hope your short game is up to par.” The forecast is for the wind to strengthen to 25mph and the former English amateur champion, chasing his first European Tour victory, added: “A couple of tees might have to be moved up.” One stroke back are Scotland&aposs Chris Doak and Spaniard Carlos Del Moral, two European Tour rookies who both came through the qualifying school last November. But there are only seven shots separating leader McGowan from those who made the halfway cut with nothing to spare. A week after moving up more than 450 places on the world rankings – and that for finishing only 11th – Doak has the chance to make an even bigger leap this weekend. The 31-year-old from Greenock was 1329th in the world entering last week&aposs Andalucian Open in Seville. He was the first-round leader there and although he just missed out on a top-10 finish it lifted him to 865th. Now he could climb into the top 300 by winning on Monday morning, but he said after a 70 containing a 15-foot eagle putt on the long 16th: “I&aposm just trying to enjoy myself and not have any pressure.” “I played with Jarmo Sandelin last week and he was telling jokes. It keeps you relaxed and whatever will be will be.” “I&aposm very pleased, especially in conditions like that. It&aposs quite tough and I&aposm trying to be patient. Maybe I tried to push it a bit in the middle two rounds last week.” After two birdies and two bogeys in the first 15 holes he sank a 15-foot eagle putt on the next, but dropped another shot at the 474-yard last after his approach found gorse by the green. Among those one further back was 35-year-old Stuart Davis, who nearly gave up golf two years ago after his eighth attempt to earn a place on the circuit ended in heartbreak. The Derbyshire golfer finished the qualifying school bogey, bogey, triple bogey to miss by three. “My second shot on the last hit a cart path and went 80 yards into bushes. It was a killer blow and I thought it was all over for me,” he said. “But the people around me pointed out that after getting so close it would be almost insane to give up.” The former industrial chemist reverted to the Challenge Tour and grabbed the last promotion place by a mere 235 pounds ($AU 500). Australian Wade Ormsby is six off the pace at one-over in equal 43rd position while Michael Curtain is a shot further back in a share of 55th spot. Second Round of the Portugal Open -5: Ross McGowan 64 73 -4: Carlos Del Moral 67 71, Chris Doak 68 70 -3: Paul Broadhurst 71 68, Stuart Davis 70 69, Simon Dyson 67 72, Miles Tunnicliff 69 70, Daniel Vancsik 68 71 -2: Richard Bland 70 70, Jamie Donaldson 71 69, Alastair Forsyth 67 73, Paul Lawrie 71 69, Callum Macaulay 70 70, Steve Webster 68 72 -1: Phillip Archer 72 69, Mark Brown (New Zealand) 73 68, Rafael Cabrera 72 69, Stuart Manley 75 66, Pablo Martin 72 69, Robert Rock 69 72 Also: +1: Wade Ormsby (Australia) 69 74 +2: Michael Curtain (Australia) 70 74 +8: Matthew Millar (Australia) 76 74