Sports Monks

Cyprus Showdown spots still to play for after darkness suspends play

Round Two Report

The 32-man field for the third round of the Aphrodite Hills Cyprus Showdown will be finalised on Saturday morning after darkness suspended play on day two at Aphrodite Hills Resort.

2014 Ryder Cup star Jamie Donaldson, who held the 54-hole lead at last week’s Aphrodite Hills Cyprus Open on the same golf course, is the leading scorer on 12 under par with three holes to complete on Saturday morning.

James Morrison of England and American Johannes Veerman earlier set the clubhouse target of 11 under par. Morrison carded a course-record equalling eight under par 63 after starting his round with eight birdies on his first ten holes.

One of the biggest movers on the second day was Northern Ireland’s Jonathan Caldwell, who started the tournament with a one over par 72. The 36-year-old carded a second round 64, seven under par, to move to six under and secure his place in tomorrow’s third round shoot-out.

In a first-of-its-kind format on the European Tour, the top 32 players and ties after the second round will advance to the third day of play on the Mediterranean island. All scores will be reset and the top 16 and ties after the third round will go through to Sunday. Again, everyone will start from level par in the final round shoot-out with the winner receiving a €200,000 first prize.

Play was suspended for more than an hour and a half on Friday afternoon due to thunderstorms in the area and, after the restart, darkness halted play on Friday night with 33 players currently inside the projected cut of six under par.

The lowest scorer after the first two rounds will receive a €5,000 bonus from tournament sponsor Megabet+. The draw for the third round will be in score order, with the lowest scorers from the first two rounds teeing off first no earlier than 09:00 local time.

The 30 players still to complete their rounds will resume play at 07:00.

Player Quotes

James Morrison: “We were the first group out this morning and we had perfect conditions. A different wind direction on 18, it’s in to the wind today. Yesterday I hit driver and seven iron on to the green, today I laid up with a wedge. It’s firmer, different wind, but the course is in such great condition that if you play well you can shoot a good score.

“My whole career I’ve always been great around the greens and off the tee but my iron play has been terrible. We always said the minute I can gain in approach play with my irons I can do okay. I finished second in approach last week and I’m doing better this week, so Rocky (Robert Rock) has really helped me. It’s only been two weeks but the things we have going are really working.”

Johannes Veerman: “I putted really well. We have the advantage of playing here last week – I hit the ball really well last week but didn’t make that many putts. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday we were working on my putting and I’ve putted really well these last two days.

“It’s an advantage (going out first). You’re putting on what should be the purest greens, no footprints, no nothing. The greens are already perfect, but if you have nobody stepping in your line, it definitely helps.

“Flat calm on a pure golf course and people playing well? I’d say at least four (tomorrow’s cut), I want to say three but I’m going to say four. It depends how they set the pins. The greens are big with a lot of swales and slopes. It depends how it is set up tomorrow, if it’s tough it could be two under, but if they move the tees back and put the pins in accessible positions it could be three or four.”

Jonathan Caldwell: “We came in off the course for the thunderstorms so I was able to check the scores and knew that five still had a chance but six was pretty secure. I knew I had to make a couple of birdies coming in, I gave myself a few chances on the last four holes and managed to make one on 17 and one on 18.

“I wasn’t really aggressive. I just tried to give myself chances on every hole and didn’t get overly aggressive. Nice when you start with a couple of flags like the first and second which were gettable. I holed a good putt on the second and hit it close on the third for a good start and went from there. “It’s all about making putts for me. I putted lovely in Scotland and Italy for those finishes. If I continue to putt like I did today, I think I’ve got a pretty good shot.”

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