European Tour

Kaymer seizes halfway lead at Italian Open

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Martin Kaymer (Getty Images)
Martin Kaymer (Getty Images)

Cape Town - Martin Kaymer heads a truly world-class leaderboard at the halfway stage of the Italian Open after brilliant second round of eight under par 63 saw the German move one stroke clear of five fellow Ryder Cup stars at Gardagolf Country Club.

"It has been a while that I played that solid without making a mistake. I think I was getting very close recently, but that positivity was missing on the golf courses because I haven't had a lot of results recently. I have been playing well, I just couldn't see a good score," said Kaymer.

The German accelerated through the field with eight birdies and not a single dropped shot to post an 11 under total and steal a one shot advantage over Rafa Cabrera Bello (67), Graeme McDowell (66), Francesco Molinari (66), Thomas Pieters (67) and Danny Willett (67) in this the second Rolex Series event on the 2018 Race to Dubai.

"Today my only goal was just trying to hit fairways. Because if you hit fairways, you have great chances. I drove it very well today and then a few putts went in on the last five, six holes, and then one of those rounds, they happen," said the two-time major winner.

"It's really exciting to see myself playing that solid. It was just a matter of putting the right mental attitude on to the golf course. I did very well the last two days."

With favourable scoring conditions set to continue into the weekend, any one of the 83 players who made the four under par cut could make a run at the title.

However, the focus of the huge Italian crowds will be on the final two groups of the third round with home hero Molinari, who is bidding to win a third Italian Open, joining Pieters and Willett in the penultimate match before Kaymer, Cabrera and McDowell complete the final round line up. 

Molinari is certainly the man in form of the leading six players having won the season's first Rolex Series event - the European PGA Championship - at Wentworth last Sunday.

Cabrera Bello, like Molinari, is simply one of the most consistent players on Tour, while the Major Championship-winning trio of Kaymer, McDowell and Willett (and to a lesser extent Pieters) are all making their way back to the very highest level having gone through some tough periods of loss of form over the last couple of seasons.

The old adage of form is temporary; class is permanent could have been written for any of those four, and it will certainly be hugely exciting battle for the Italian Open trophy over the weekend.

Round Two - Scores:

131 M Kaymer (Ger) 68 63, 

132 D Willett (Eng) 65 67, T Pieters (Bel) 65 67, F Molinari (Ita) 66 66, G McDowell (Nir) 66 66, R Cabrera Bello (Esp) 65 67, 

133 J Dantorp (Swe) 68 65, E Van Rooyen (RSA) 65 68, R Rock (Eng) 63 70, T Olesen (Den) 65 68, H Li (Chn) 68 65, 

134 S Hend (Aus) 68 66, H Tanihara (Jpn) 67 67, M Manassero (Ita) 66 68, R Bland (Eng) 70 64, D Frittelli (RSA) 67 67

135 A Sullivan (Eng) 67 68, I Poulter (Eng) 67 68, A Saddier (Fra) 68 67, T Fleetwood (Eng) 68 67, D Fichardt (RSA) 66 69, D Lipsky (USA) 68 67, J Smith (Eng) 67 68, L Canter (Eng) 63 72, J Morrison (Eng) 67 68, T Detry (Bel) 69 66, R Sterne (RSA) 63 72, L Slattery (Eng) 66 69, D Howell (Eng) 69 66, 

136 B Dredge (Wal) 68 68, D Im (USA) 66 70, D Drysdale (Sco) 68 68, R Evans (Eng) 67 69, M Fitzpatrick (Eng) 66 70, G Fernandez - Castaño (Esp) 70 66, L Westwood (Eng) 66 70, A Bland (Aus) 70 66, O Fisher (Eng) 68 68, C Ford (Eng) 65 71, J Campillo (Esp) 68 68, 

137 P Harrington (Irl) 71 66, L Gagli (Ita) 68 69, M Lorenzo-Vera (Fra) 66 71, A Romero (Arg) 67 70, W Ormsby (Aus) 66 71, A Connelly (Can) 69 68, J Guerrier (Fra) 70 67, C Shinkwin (Eng) 66 71, M Wallace (Eng) 65 72, A Wu (Chn) 70 67, A Otaegui (Esp) 68 69, G Havret (Fra) 68 69, T Aiken (RSA) 69 68, R Fox (Nzl) 69 68, J Kruyswijk (RSA) 67 70, D Burmester (RSA) 70 67, R McGowan (Eng) 70 67, J Geary (Nzl) 68 69, 

138 B Stone (RSA) 69 69, M Schwab (Aut) 67 71, H Porteous (RSA) 70 68, J Wang (Kor) 68 70, J Scrivener (Aus) 67 71, A Rai (Eng) 67 71, D Brooks (Eng) 67 71, F Zanotti (Par) 69 69, A Levy (Fra) 68 70, P Dunne (Irl) 69 69, E Pepperell (Eng) 67 71, M Jiménez (Esp) 68 70, B Rumford (Aus) 70 68, A Johnston (Eng) 69 69, L Bjerregaard (Den) 68 70, A Noren (Swe) 70 68, S Jamieson (Sco) 69 69, N Elvira (Esp) 69 69, B Hebert (Fra) 70 68, G Green (Mas) 71 67, S Kjeldsen (Den) 70 68, J Donaldson (Wal) 66 72, C Wood (Eng) 67 71, T Immelman (RSA) 69 69, P Hanson (Swe) 68 70, 

139 S Heisele (Ger) 71 68, F Bergamaschi (Ita) 71 68, G Bourdy (Fra) 70 69, F Aguilar (Chi) 70 69, R Fisher (Eng) 65 74, T Jaidee (Tha) 71 68, M Korhonen (Fin) 68 71, S Gros (Fra) 71 68, C Syme (Sco) 68 71, C Hanson (Eng) 71 68, M Southgate (Eng) 71 68, M Warren (Sco) 68 71, 

140 M Ilonen (Fin) 70 70, G Migliozzi (Ita) 72 68, A Chesters (Eng) 67 73, R Gouveia (Por) 72 68, S Gallacher (Sco) 69 71, J Choi (Kor) 71 69, A Björk (Swe) 71 69, 

141 P Oriol (Esp) 70 71, S Horsfield (Eng) 69 72, M Kinhult (Swe) 69 72, C Koepka (USA) 72 69, A Quiros (Esp) 71 70, C Paisley (Eng) 71 70, R Ramsay (Sco) 67 74, P Khongwatmai (Tha) 69 72, G Coetzee (RSA) 70 71, J Norris (Aus) 69 72, T Hatton (Eng) 72 69, A Pavan (Ita) 69 72, 

142 M Foster (Eng) 71 71, N Bertasio (Ita) 69 73, L Cianchetti (Ita) 69 73, L Jensen (Den) 70 72, R Wattel (Fra) 71 71, C Sordet (Fra) 69 73, N Colsaerts (Bel) 74 68, 

143 F Laporta (Ita) 71 72, R Jacquelin (Fra) 68 75, M Fraser (Aus) 74 69, A Dodt (Aus) 72 71, M Pavon (Fra) 72 71, J Lagergren (Swe) 68 75, P Waring (Eng) 68 75, 

144 P Widegren (Swe) 69 75, M Kieffer (Ger) 71 73, D Horsey (Eng) 72 72, E Molinari (Ita) 76 68, C Bezuidenhout (RSA) 73 71, S Brown (Eng) 71 73, S Chawrasia (Ind) 73 71, J Winther (Den) 69 75, 

145 J Heath (Eng) 72 73, M Siem (Ger) 72 73, S Brazel (Aus) 70 75, 

146 R Cho (Kor) 71 75, R Karlsson (Swe) 70 76, T Pulkkanen (Fin) 74 72, B Neil (Sco) 73 73, 

147 S Lee (Kor) 70 77, S Fernandez (Esp) 71 76, J Vecchi Fossa (Ita) 74 73, 

148 P Angles (Esp) 73 75, N Geyger (Chi) 74 74, 

149 F Maccario (Ita) 75 74, O Farr (Wal) 77 72, E Di Nitto (Ita) 74 75, 

150 M Baldwin (Eng) 75 75, 1

51 R Paratore (Ita) 73 78, C Pigem (Esp) 72 79, 

155 Z Lombard (RSA) 78 77

** P Larrazábal (Esp) 69 RT

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