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Wednesday 26 September 2018

Bjorn leads in Melbourne as Irish pair struggle

THOMAS BJORN added a second-round 68 to his opening 66 to take the individual lead into the third day of the ISPS HANDA World Cup of Golf at Royal Melbourne Golf Club, but the United States team hold a three-stroke lead.

The 42-year-old Dane leads Kevin Streelman by one stroke after the American paid a high price for thinning a bunker shot on the ninth hole, making a double bogey to surrender a four-shot lead accrued through Friday.

Streelman is, however, on course to defend the team title for the USA alongside Matt Kuchar - the pair reached 10 under par at the midway stage.

Kuchar started Friday's second round with birdies on the first two holes and held on for a three-under 68.

The Danish team of Bjorn, who opened and closed his round with a bogey, and Thorbjorn Olesen are the closest challengers on seven under par.

Bjorn said: "There were a couple of things that happened on the golf course today that really tested me. I three-putted the first, so got caught a little bit there.

"But after that I patiently worked my way into the round and played very solid. Maybe not quite as good as yesterday on the front nine, but on the back nine I played awesome.

"Obviously it was disappointing to bogey the last, but if you'd asked me when the ball was in the air, I would've said you couldn't have hit a better golf shot.

"But you have got to take that on this course. Some bounces go your way, and some go against you on this course.

"Maybe I was a bit unfortunate, but I have to remember that I played some really, really good stuff on that back nine."

Third place is shared by Australian hopeful Jason Day and Ricardo Santos of Portugal, who signed for 70 and 69 respectively.

Ireland's Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry signed for a level par 71 and 72 respectively leaving them one over and five over. They are in 16th place in the team standings.

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