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Broadhurst takes halfway lead in Open de Madrid

Ryder Cup ‘old boy’, Paul Broadhurst of England, swept into the halfway lead in the Open de Madrid at Club de Campo in the Spanish capital, but looked over his shoulder to find members of the new generation close behind.

New dad Broadhurst – his wife, Lorraine gave birth to the couple’s fourth child a month ago – fired a six under par 65 containing seven birdies for a ten under par total of 132.

Broadhurst, who played with great distinction in his only Ryder Cup appearance at Kiawah Island in 1991, signed for a score which contained one stroke more than 25 year old Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland, who looks a certain Ryder Cup star of the future and showed why with a superb 64.

McDowell lies in a share of fifth place on 134, alongside Dane Anders Hansen and Ireland’s Gary Murphy, the trio one behind another three players in second place on 133, Sweden’s Johan Edfors, South Africa’s Darren Fichardt and one of this year’s Ryder Cup heroes, Miguel Angel Jiménez, who fired a remarkable round of 63 to join the group on nine under par at the halfway stage.

Jiménez was four over after seven holes of his first round, but has played the subsequent 29 holes in 13 under par. He recovered with five birdies to shoot at first round 70 and had eight more in compiling halves of 33 and 30 to move smoothly into position to record a fifth victory of the year.

Meanwhile leader Broadhurst opted for the fairways of Madrid over the joys of parenthood and said: "I could easily have stayed at home because my wife has not been 100 per cent. But I knew if I did that I wouldn't play much golf and I wanted to keep my game ticking over."

Starting at the tenth, the 39 year old picked up three shots on his front nine but really caught fire on the homeward trip. He birdied the second, third and seventh before dropping his only shot of the day at the eighth. However he redeemed himself with a birdie two at the ninth for his 65.

McDowell carded a flawless 64 with seven birdies for his total of 134 while Hansen had a bogey at the 12th – his third hole – before hitting back with four birdies and a superb eagle at the seventh.

"I'm cruising along quite nicely," said the Ulsterman. "I'm still not 100 per cent happy, but it's all about giving myself chances and how I do it, I don't mind.”

Meanwhile Broadhurst had every sympathy for all those involved in the contest for places on next season's European Tour, especially his best friend and fellow Midlander, Peter Baker.

Broadhurst had to go back to The European Tour Qualifying School in 2001 and 2002 before re-establishing himself. Baker is 121st on the Order of Merit and had an opening 73 before following it up with a second round 77 for a total which saw him miss the cut and means he will have to visit the Qualifying School Finals in San Roque next month.

Jamie Spence, another player fighting to retain his playing privileges for 2005, produced a superb 66 for 137, five under par. The European Tour’s Tournament Committee Chairman is in 120th place on the Volvo Order of Merit but did his prospects no harm with that impressive round and will tee up over the weekend.


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