Ernie Els leads World Golf Championship

Ernie Els shot the round of the day - an eight-under-par 64 - to take a two-stroke lead after Friday's second round of the World Golf Championship.

updated: February 25, 2007 10:07 IST
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Ernie Els shot the round of the day - an eight-under-par 64 - to take a two-stroke lead after Friday's second round of the World Golf Championship in Thomastown, Ireland. The South African sits at 11-under, with Miguel Angel Jimenez and first round leader Todd Hamilton in joint second place at nine-under. Conditions were far from ideal for the second day of the World Golf Championship at the Mount Juliet Conrad course in Thomastown. Several players would still manage to climb up the leaderboard despite the rain and wind though. American Steve Flesch followed his first round 65 with a two-under-par second round of 70 for a share of fifth place. Two late birdies would see Thomas Bjorn join Flesch at seven-under-par for the tournament. The Dane went close to an eagle at the 17th, but he would still card a second round three-under-par to move into contention. Retief Goosen also shot a three-under par second round to move to seven-under. South African Goosen dropped consecutive shots at the sixth and seventh holes, but birdied three out of four holes either side of the turn on the way to a 69. England's Lee Westwood completed the quartet of players at seven-under. The Ryder Cup hero moved to four-under for the round after a birdie at the 15th, but dropped shots at the 16th and 18th, either side of a birdie at the 17th, would see him settle for a three-under-par 69. Justin Leonard sits one shot ahead at eight-under following a second consecutive four-under-par round of 68. After birdying the third, the American dropped his only shot of the day at the par-four fourth, but two birdies both before and after the turn would see Leonard finish three shots off the pace. First round leader Todd Hamilton, The Open champion, moved to nine-under-par for the tournament with a three-under-par second round. The American, who is making his European Tour debut following a long stint on the Asian PGA Tour, followed his opening six-under 66 with a round of three birdies and no bogeys. Hamilton had been headed for sole possession of second place until Miguel Angel Jimenez rolled in a 50-foot putt for an eagle at the 17th. The Spaniard's short game had been impeccable for most of the day and a four-under-par round would take him to nine-under. But Ernie Els carded the round of the day to move into a two-stroke lead at 11-under. The "Big Easy" started his second round with four consecutive birdies from the first hole, and, although he was unable to maintain that fantastic start, the South African would take the halfway lead with an eight-under-par round. A solitary bogey at the 11th followed birdies at the 9th and 10th, but Els picked up further strokes at the 14th, 15th and 17th to open a lead over the rest of the field. (AP)