Jamie Donaldson takes lead at Nordea Masters

Jamie Donaldson Getty Images

Jamie Donaldson takes lead at Nordea Masters

Euro Tour

Jamie Donaldson takes lead at Nordea Masters

Jamie Donaldson is in on the verge of breaking out of a slump. The former European Ryder Cup hero holds the 36-hole lead in the $1.7 million Nordea Masters despite a wretched period over the last year and a half.

The 41-year-old Welshman returned a second consecutive 4-under 69 to reach 8 under. He holds a two-shot lead over Italy’s Renato Paratore, the joint first-round leader. France’s Benjamin Hebert and Englishmen Graeme Storm and Max Orrin (the other co-leader after Round 1) share third place at 5 under.

Donaldson recorded the winning point in Europe’s 2014 Ryder Cup victory at Gleneagles when he hit a 9-iron to gimme range on the 15th hole to defeat Keegan Bradley, 4 and 3. Many felt that performance would springboard Donaldson on to more success. Instead, he’s gone backwards.

The three-time European Tour winner has recorded just one top-10 finish in the last 17 months – a T-10 in last year’s Dubai Duty Free Irish Open. Donaldson, ranked 43rd in the Official World Golf Ranking after his 2015 Thailand Championship win, is now ranked No. 256. Entering the week, Donaldson had failed to make the weekend in 16 of 23 starts worldwide.

Injuries have played a part in his struggle, but he’s hoping to make up for lost time this week at Barseback Gold and Country Club in Malmo, Sweden. Donaldson dropped just one shot in the second round, a bogey at the 15th, to go with five birdies, four of them on the back nine.

“I played nicely,” Donaldson said. “There were times when the ball wasn’t where I wanted it to be, but I made some great escapes. The chipping and putting has been better over the last couple of days. I have been playing quite nicely recently but just not quite putting it all together but the first couple of days here I’ve been able to do that.

“More of the same for the weekend, really. I’ve got my map of the golf course and how to play it. I don’t know what the weather is going to do tomorrow, it might be windy, it might not, so we’ll wake up and take it from there.”

Paratore started on the 10th tee and played his front nine in 2 over with bogeys at the 14th and 17th holes. He started his back nine by bogeying the first but rattled off birdies at the second, third, sixth and seventh holes to stay in contention.

Alex Noren, who won last week’s BMW PGA Championship, bounced back from an opening 75 to record a 3-under 70. He’s joint 25th at 1 under along with British Open champion Henrik Stenson, who returned a 1-under 72.

Canada’s Austin Connelly is one of the notables near the top of the leaderboard, at 4 under. Connelly, who grew up in Irving, Texas, was a top junior golfer in the U.S. He’s tied with Chris Wood and Thorbjorn Olesen. Matthew Fitzpatrick is another shot back, at 3 under.

Latest

More Golfweek
Home