Date: February 09, 2008

Steady McGrane grabs lead

Ireland&aposs Damien McGrane grabbed the second round lead at the Indian Masters after a steady three-under-par 69 on Friday as Marcus Fraser and Brendan Jones produced consistent performances for the Australasian contingent. The 36-year-old McGrane held his game at the Delhi Golf Club when he posted a two-day total of eight-under-par 136. South African Hendrik Buhrmann rose to contention in a tie for second spot alongside Graeme McDowell of Ireland and France&aposs Raphael Jacquelin who all recorded matching 69s on a chilly day in the Indian capital. Sweden&aposs Mikael Lundberg posted a 68 to be alone in fifth on the leaderboard as former Asian number one Arjun Atwal and compatriot Digvijay Singh were the highest ranked local players in a tie for sixth spot after posting similar 70s but first round leader Jyoti Randhawa had a shocker, posting a five-over 77 after carding a 65 the previous day. Teeing off under testing conditions on the back nine, McGrane was even-par after nine holes but the Irishman battled the chills at Delhi Golf Club as he came in with a solid 69. “The temperature was very cold out there today and it really was a lot more difficult than yesterday. So a three under par is a good number and I&aposm happy enough with it today,” said McGrane. “I&aposve been playing well lately so all I need to do is just keep doing the same thing and hit as many good shots as I can. I seemed to hole a few putts when I had birdie chances, so that&aposs all I need to do,” he said after chalking up five birdies against two dropped shots. After carding a 74 on the first day, Australian Brendan Jones lifted his game on Friday as he posted a four-under 68 to be two-under for the tournament alongside compatriot Marcus Fraser (69). The pair are still six strokes behind McGrane but one ahead of compatriot Unho Park (71) and three better than Adam Blyth (71), Adam Groom (73) and Scott Hend (74). Scott Barr (73) and New Zealand&aposs Mark Brown (75) are further back on two-over overall as Scott Strange slipped down the leaderboard with a poor six-over 78 to be at six-over in total. Kane Webber (79) is a further four strokes back but he was still doing better than Gary Simpson (78, +14) and Gavin Flint (83), who finished the tournament on 19 over. Second Round of the Emaar-MGF Indian Masters (Par 72): -8: Damien McGrane 67 69 -6: Hendrik Buhrmann 69 69, Raphael Jacquelin 69 69, Graeme McDowell 69 69 -5: Mikael Lundberg 71 68 -4: Arjun Atwal 70 70, Benn Barham 69 71, Thomas Bjorn 68 72, Maarten Lafeber 69 71, Jose Manuel Lara 68 72, Digvijay Singh 70 70 -3: S. S. P. Chowrasia 70 71, Darren Clarke 72 69, Henrik Nystrom 70 71 -2: Ross Bain 71 71, Marcus Fraser (Australia) 73 69, Brendan Jones (Australia) 74 68, Mark O Meara 69 73, Jyoti Randhawa 65 77, Simon Wakefield 74 68 Also: -1: Uno Park (Australia) 71 72 +1: Adam Blyth (Australia) 74 71, Adam Groom (Australia) 72 73, Scott Hend (Australia) 71 74 +2: Scott Barr (Australia) 73 73, Mark Brown (New Zealand) 71 75 +6: Scott Strange (Australia) 72 78 +10: Kane Webber (Australia) 75 79 +14: Gary Simpson (Australia) 80 78 +19: Gavin Flint (Australia) 80 83