Campbell Grabs European Open Lead


KILDARE, Ireland -- Michael Campbell of New Zealand posted a 1-under 71 Friday to grab the lead halfway through the European Open. Campbell finished 36 holes at 5-under-par 139 and owns a one-shot lead over Barry Lane and Mark Pilkington.
Ireland's Padraig Harrington shot a 3-under 69 Friday to share low round of the day honors. The Irishman is tied for fourth with Jamie Donaldson (71), Joakim Haeggman (73), Patrik Sjoland (70), Jorge Berendt (73), 1999 British Open champion Paul Lawrie (71) and overnight co-leader Darren Fichardt (74). The group is two shots back at 3-under-par 141.
Campbell opened the second round on The K Club's back nine and tallied only one birdie through his first nine holes but ran into some interesting circumstances as he made the turn.
One of Campbell's playing partners, Pierre Fulke, withdrew after nine holes due to a back problem and then the third member of the group, Phillip Price pulled out of the tournament with a neck injury a short time later.
Campbell bogeyed the 11th hole by himself with Price acting as a non-playing observer. After the bogey at 11, an official went to the group ahead of Campbell and asked if anyone would wait behind and join Campbell in a twosome. Fred Funk agreed and Campbell responded with a pair of birdies at his 13th and 14th holes.
Campbell bogeyed the 15th but parred his way in and took sole possession of the 36-hole lead.
'I said thanks to Fred for joining me. I thought no one liked me on this tour,' joked Campbell, who last won on the European Tour at the 2001 Heineken Classic. 'It's the first time that has happened to me. It was quite strange to play a one ball in a tournament and to have a fellow peer in Phillip Price watching me. It was a very unusual day and actually put me off a little.'
Lane mixed four birdies and three bogeys for a round of 1-under 71.
'I was very satisfied with the way I played today,' said Lane. 'Yesterday I played poorly for six holes and didn't hit a green in regulation. I felt weak and fed myself up on chocolate bars and hit a great 3-iron at the seventh and never looked back.'
Pilkington overcame a bogey at his second hole with four birdies the rest of the way for his 3-under 69.
Harrington had one of Friday's later tee times and took advantage of the sunny skies that hit The K Club for the first time all week. The Irishman collected three birdies on his back nine and when the final birdie putt fell at 18, he was in the hunt for his European Tour title of 2002.
'I am surprised that 69 is the best score today but I am delighted to be in the thick of things,' said Harrington, who along with Pilkington, Eduardo Romero and Nick O'Hern were the only players to break 70 on Friday. 'I left myself too much to do last week and after shooting 72 yesterday I was thinking it was the same story.'
Jarrod Moseley, the other co-leader after the first round, carded a 3-over 75 Friday and is tied for 11th at 2-under-par.
Retief Goosen and Lee Westwood, the last two winners of the Order of Merit title, are part of a logjam at 1-under-par 143.
Darren Clarke, the 2001 European Open champion, rebounded from an opening-round 74 Friday with a 2-under 70 and is part of a group at even par. Colin Montgomerie is part of the pack at even par while Greg Norman, who matched Montgomerie's 69 in the first round, struggled to a 4-over 76 and is tied for 35th at plus 1.
The 36-hole cut fell at 3-over 147 and three European Ryder Cuppers missed out on the weekend. Germany's Bernhard Langer, Denmark's Thomas Bjorn and Irelands's Paul McGinley all failed to make the cut.
Full-field scores from the Smurfit European Open