Unheralded Bond takes lead at Wales Open

Unheralded Bond takes lead at Wales Open

NEWPORT, Wales (AP) – Unheralded Welshman Liam Bond is making the most of a late call-up to his national event, shooting a 3-under 68 Friday to take a one-shot lead after the second round of the Wales Open.

Bond, who is ranked No. 1,528, was invited to play Wednesday after receiving a call from the European Tour during a round with his 7-year-old daughter on a local course.

After opening with a first-round 69, he made five birdies on Friday to move to 5-under 137 at Celtic Manor, the 2010 Ryder Cup host.

“My daughter and I were rooting for balls on my home golf course just up the road from Celtic Manor when the Tour phoned me saying do you fancy playing in the Wales Open,'' Bond said. “I told (them) I would snap their hand off to play here, and the good thing is Celtic Manor's only 10 minutes from my house.

“So it won't be long before I'm home and putting the slippers on and enjoying a nice cup of tea.''

First-round leader Espen Kofstad of Norway managed a 74 and finished tied with Tjaart van der Walt of South Africa (71), one shot behind the leader.

Five players, including American Peter Uihlein (70) and Ireland's Paul McGinley (69), were another shot back in a tie for fourth.

McGinley, the European Ryder Cup captain, is looking to capture a first victory in nearly eight years.

“I played well today and found the wind a real challenge, but then I enjoyed that,'' McGinley said. “Also, I played well here last year. But then I learned so much from watching the Ryder Cup players when we were here in 2010.''

Defending champion Thongchai Jaidee kept alive his hopes of making the Presidents Cup team despite shooting a 74, which was enough to make the cut at 3 over.

The Thai golfer needs to play all four rounds to give himself a chance of breaking back into the top 10 on the International Team's Presidents Cup standings. He's 12th on the list.

The Presidents Cup starts Oct. 3 in Dublin, Ohio.

A back injury forced Scotland's Stephen Gallacher out of the event after just three holes of his second round, less than a week after losing out in a playoff in the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles.

Gallacher had injured his back washing the family car before the Gleneagles event.

Shortly after he pulled out, Gallacher learned that his uncle Bernard Gallacher, the former Ryder Cup captain, was hospitalized in serious condition.

“I understand that he is critical but stable,'' Stephen Gallacher said in a statement. “My family is in disarray at the moment and it is obviously a worrying situation. We are all anxious.''

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