Martin maintains advantage

13/10/2012

Peter Martin still held the lead as the morning starters completed their second rounds at the Irish PGA Championship at Mount Juliet but it was down to one shot on six under par after a sharply fluctuating round.

Joint second overnight Eamonn Brady shot two-under-par 70 to the leader's 71 to be his closest challenger with Noel Murray a further shot back on 140, carding another 70.

The 35 year-old leader got to nine under after 27 holes as he saw off a brilliant start by David Higgins who is on the brink of being crowned the Irish Order of Merit champion. The Waterville man had a hole in one on the par 3 third and birdied the next to move to five under.

Martin playing alongside him and former Ryder Cup star Philip Walton, claimed four birdies on the first nine, as he outshone him, with Higgins reaching the turn in two under, as he chalked up two bogeys and another birdie.

Both players lost their sparkle and struggled on the back nine, culminating in a very disappointing finish for Higgins, running up a triple bogey on the last for level par.

The leader had a double bogey on the 13th where he hit water and also bogeyed the last which was playing long into the wind.

He put down his slump on the back nine to not playing much this year but was content with his score. "I would have taken it before I went out" he said before heading for the practice range "to hit a few balls and get my rhythm back and take it into tomorrow."

Brady, his closest challenger, described his 70 as a "lot more solid" than his opening 69, containing three birdies and one bogey. The previous day he had an eagle and five birdies, but also a double bogey and two bogeys.

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