Rumford three ahead at Ballantine's, Westwood recovers to stay in hunt

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Brett Rumford carded nine birdies and nine pars in his second-round 63 on Friday.
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PA Sport and Associated Press

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Published: Friday, April 29, 2011 | 11:42 a.m.

Lee Westwood shot a 4-under 68 in the second round of the Ballantine’s Championship on Friday, bouncing back from a rough first day to stay six strokes off the pace.

Brett Rumford posted a 63 to get to 10 under, putting the Australian three strokes clear of Miguel Angel Jimenez and Soren Kjeldsen.

2011 BALLANTINE'S CHAMPIONSHIP

With four of the world's top 20 players on hand, this edition of the Ballantine's Championship features its strongest field ever.

Westwood’s opening round included a final-hole double bogey at the Blackstone Golf Club at Icheon. But the world No. 1 had a solid performance Friday, finishing with a birdie.

The Englishman, who won the Indonesian Masters last weekend, had a chance to move closer to the top, but had three bogeys in his round.

Rumford had nine birdies to move into the lead at the halfway point.

“I struck a little bit of magic out there today and it’s great to have these shots up your sleeve going into the weekend,” said Rumford, who was the runner-up in last year’s tournament. “I had seven weeks off before playing in Malaysia and China the past two weeks, so I’m happy about today.”

Rain was in the forecast for the weekend, making Rumford’s position even more important.

“The more shots up your sleeve, the better going into the weekend,” he said. “If the forecast is bad, it’s going to play very, very tricky.”

Kjeldsen carded a 66 to move to 7 under, while Jimenez added a 67 to his first-round 70. Welshman Rhys Davies, James Morrison of England and first-round leader Damien McGrane of Ireland were a shot back at 6 under, and PGA Tour star Dustin Johnson was at 5 under after a 69.

The $2.8 million tournament is co-sanctioned by the Asian tour, the European tour and the Korea PGA.

Rumford, well off the pace with a 71 on Thursday, had five birdies on his opening nine Friday and a strong finish marked by two more on the 17th and 18th.

The man from Perth, who won the last of his three European Tour titles at the Omega European Masters in 2007, now hopes for a chance to make up for last year, when he fell just short of victory.

"I'm in a position now to be thinking about winning, that's for sure," he said. "Maybe at the start of the week, not so, as I haven't come into this week with that great of a form. But this is a funny game and it can change from week to week.

"I think the difference between today and yesterday is just the wind out there,” he added. “It was a lot calmer and obviously a lot easier to control the ball coming into these very firm greens."

Rumford's was the best round of anybody by three shots, with that 66 managed by Kjeldsen, who moved into a share of second after also signing for a 71 on Thursday.

Westwood got off to a good start with an opening birdie, but gave the shot back on the third hole before back-to-back birdies on the fourth and fifth. There were also bogeys on the 13th and 16th as he struggled for consistency.