Six share lead on crowded Irish Open leaderboard

RSS

Conditions remain difficult at Royal County Down, as several big names will miss the cut and only a handful of players have beaten par. Here's how things look at the halfway point of the Irish Open, where six players share the lead:

Leaderboard: Bernd Wiesberger (-3), Soren Kjeldsen (-3), Richie Ramsay (-3), Rafael Cabrera-Bello (-3), Chris Wood (-3), Tyrell Hatton (-3), Padraig Harrington (-2), Luke Donald (-2)

What it means: Par continues to be a great score in this event, where 4-under 67 is still the lowest score of the week. The leaderboard is a crowded one, with 29 players within five shots of the lead. The army of co-leaders includes Wiesberger, who contended last year at the PGA Championship, and Ramsay, a former U.S. Amateur champ.

Round of the day: Ramsay has been playing well this year in Europe, and the Scot put together a 4-under 67 in the second round that included only one bogey. Ramsay birdied three of his first seven holes, and after fellow U.S. Amateur champ Byeong-Hun An won last week at Wentworth, the '06 Amateur champ holds a share of the lead heading into the weekend at Royal County Down.

Best of the rest: Wiesberger matched Ramsay's score of 67, including a 31 across the difficult back nine. The Austrian closed out in style, with birdies on Nos. 16 and 17 before an eagle on the par-5 18th. It was his second eagle of the week, and Wiesberger managed to find 13 of 18 greens in regulation despite blustery winds and intermittent squalls.

Biggest disappointment: He rebounded with an even-par 71, but Rory McIlroy will still miss the cut for the third consecutive year at this event. The world No. 1 and tournament host was unable to overcome an opening-round 80, and he now heads into the U.S. Open on a disappointing note after back-to-back missed cuts in Europe.

Main storyline heading into Saturday: With an unpredictable venue and crowded leaderboard, this tournament remains anyone's guess. But two players to keep an eye on are the men one shot back, as Donald and Harrington both know how to deal with the pressures of a big event and both are looking to punch their tickets to the U.S. Open with a strong showing this week. Reigning Players champ Rickie Fowler is also just three shots back after consecutive rounds of 71.

Quote of the day: "I left myself too much to do from yesterday." - McIlroy