Published: Tue, October 16, 2018
Sports | By Juana Wells

Pepperell moves three strokes clear at Walton Heath

Pepperell moves three strokes clear at Walton Heath

The 27-year-old from Oxford began the day with a three-shot lead and was four clear when he holed from 14 feet for an eagle on the par-five 11th, with playing partners Smith and Matt Wallace remarkably also doing likewise.

The nearest challengers to Pepperell, who won the Qatar Masters this year and almost made it into Europe's Ryder Cup team, were Matt Wallace (72) and Julien Guerrier, who was 3 under after 15 holes of his second round when play was suspended.

Smith also birdied the 12th after Pepperell three-putted and another birdie on the 15th took Smith within two shots of the lead, only for him to immediately drop a shot on the next. I didn't feel exhausted at all. Tough, windy conditions are not making scoring easy, but Pepperell fared far better than most, a combination of five birdies and two bogeys helping to create some valuable daylight between himself and the rest of the field.

"I've got to be aggressive, keep trying to play the shots and I don't think there is anything to be afraid of for sure".

The Englishman claimed his first European Tour title at the Qatar Masters in February and stayed on course to add a second at Walton Heath.

He could move inside the top 35 with a victory on Sunday, but Pepperell insists he will not be treading the well-worn path to the PGA Tour which such an elevated status makes possible.

"The fans really do come out in force in the United Kingdom and support these events, and these are the types of atmospheres that the players really enjoy playing in front of". Frankly I feel like I'm not hitting the ball that well, really.

"New position for me, first time I've ever gone out there with a three-shot lead on a Saturday so, to have maintained it, I would say is not a failure". "I didn't see any shots that frightened me and it's about time I kicked on and won another event". "But I'm confident that I can go out there on Sunday and shoot three or four under par, and make everyone else's life very hard".

Tournament host Justin Rose safely made the halfway cut after a 72 left him on two over par.

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