Friday, February 08, 2008

NEW DELHI (AP) — Irish golfer Damien McGrane's three-under par 69 Friday gave him a two-stroke lead after the second round in the inaugural Indian Masters at the Delhi Golf Club.

Putting five birdies to make up for his two bogies on the par-four fourth and 11th holes, McGrane is eight-under par 136 over two rounds after firing 67 Thursday.

``I've been playing well lately so all I need to do is just keep doing the same thing,'' said McGrane.

``For some reason I seem to be birding the more difficult holes than the easier holes, but you take the birdies any time you get them out there,'' he said. ``A three-under par is a good number and I'm happy enough with it.''

McGrane said the unusually cold February temperature in the Indian capital gave him the feeling of an Irish morning.

``It was the same as being at home,'' he said. ``I wouldn't like to be roasting out there because generally the temperatures here are sky high.''

Two stokes being McGrane were Hendrik Buhrmann, Raphael Jacquelin and Graeme McDowell, tied for the second spot on six-under par 138.

One stroke adrift of them was Mikael Lundberg with 139 after shooting a four-under par 68 on a day that saw world No. 4 Ernie Els averting the embarrassment of missing the cut.

Two-time U.S. Open champion Els shot two-under par 70 for a two-round score of one-over par 145 to lie in tied 44th position, just two strokes short of the cut off mark.

Els had a quadruple-bogey nine on his ninth hole - the course's 18th - to finish with a three-over par 75 Thursday.

Overnight leader Jyoti Randhawa, who capitalized on his familiarity with the course on the opening day, slipped to the tied 15th position after an erratic five-over par 77 in the second round.

Buhrmann, who had been playing on this course for over a dozen years, said past experience came handy.

``It's a well disciplined course and its unique, I think it's a totally different style that most European or modern golfers haven't played,'' said Buhrmann.

The US$2.5 million (1.71 million) Indian Masters marked the arrival of European Tour in India.

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