Wiesberger fires course record to lead Ballantine's Championship at halfway

Bernd Weisberger at the Ballantine's Championship
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Bernd Wiesberger took advantage of calm morning conditions Friday at the Ballantine's Championship to make seven birdies in a bogey-free round.
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PGA.com news services

Series: European Tour

Bernd Wiesberger shot a course record 7-under 65 Friday to take a one-stroke lead over Marcus Fraser after the second round of the Ballantine's Championship.

Wiesberger took advantage of calm morning conditions to make seven birdies in a bogey-free round at the Blackstone Golf Club. The 26-year-old Austrian was at 7-under 137 in search of his first European Tour victory.

Fraser, who won the 2010 Ballantine's Championship on Jeju Island, had a 67. He started on the back nine and turned in 32 after four birdies with two more at the first and second, but he bogeyed both par 3s on the front nine and stayed alone in second virtue of a birdie at the fifth.

Spain's Miguel Angel Jimenez, at age 48 aiming to become the oldest winner in European Tour history, shot a 68 to move into fourth place, three shots off the lead. He is tied with England's Anthony Wall and Chile's Felipe Aguilar, with none of the afternoon starters able to break into the top six in much windier conditions.

Englishmen Graeme Storm and Oliver Fisher are among a four-way tie for seventh. Paul Casey, David Howell and Ian Poulter are tied for 11th with Richie Ramsay, Jamie Donaldson, Danny Willett, George Coetzee and Thongchai Jaidee in the event sanctioned by the European and Asian tours.

First-round leader Victor Dubuisson of France, who thrived in difficult conditions for a 68 on the opening day, shot a 75 to slide to six shots off the lead.

''It was a totally different golf course out there,'' said Wiesberger, who will attempt to follow Martin Wiegele and Marcus Brier and become the third Austrian to win on the European Tour. "I'm just trying to hit a lot of greens and try and hit on the right spots, which is important here. It's a tricky golf course when you hit into the wrong places.

''Yesterday it was really tough and I had to stay patient,'' he explained. ''Today I played similar quality golf, but for the first 12 holes it was totally calm out there and I couldn't really do anything wrong.''

Wiesberger's best tour finish so far was at Gleneagles last year, when he made it into a five-man playoff for the Johnnie Walker Championship won by Denmark's Thomas Bjorn.

Fraser, a two-time winner in Europe, finished fourth at the Avantha Masters in India in February and last week finished sixth at the Volvo China Open.

British Open champion Darren Clarke missed the cut after he followed his first-round 77 with a 72.