Australasians well off the pace in Italy

Matthew Fitzpatrick leader – Getty Images

Three Australians and one New Zealander live to fight another day at the Italian Open in Rome but if they are to have a chance of a week of any significance they have a lot of work to do over the final 36 holes.

Lucas Herbert (28th) and Wade Ormsby, Jason Scrivener and New Zealander Ryan Fox (44th) have survived the halfway cut at the Olgiata Golf Club.

The services of Sam Brazel, Scott Hend and Michael Campbell will not be required over the weekend.

Herbert brilliantly recovered from an opening round of 74 with a round of 65 today to move to 3 under par and within seven of the leader, Matthew Fitzpatrick, although an opening nine of 31 had promised event better.

Herbert needs a good finish over the next few weeks as he is currently in 118th place in the Race to Dubai Rankings with only the top 110 regaining their European Tour status for 2020 and so a strong finish this weekend will go a long way towards that goal.

Fitzpatrick leads by one over Denmark’s Joachim B Hansen but two shots back is a group of five in 3rd place including Justin Rose.

“Just a really solid day,” said the Englishman. “I figured out something with my irons after the second hole. I just needed to get a little bit more loft on it going back, something I’ve been working on since Wentworth, really. Just felt much more comfortable with my irons once I was out there. That certainly showed. Only missed one green after that.

I think I got to seven under par and I thought, now I’m sort of in the mix, really, which is obviously where you want to be. I did feel the way I played on the front nine, I was able to push it on the back nine, certainly, to get to 10 under.

“It’s been a little while, Germany, which was back in June, that I was challenging and then Sweden. When you’re in these kind of positions, it’s always exciting. That’s why you play the game, and I look forward to the weekend.”

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