Sheffield golfer holds share of Prague lead

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Sheffield’s Matthew Fitzpatrick completed a second bogey-free round to claim a share of the halfway lead at the D+D REAL Czech Masters in Prague.

The 20-year-old recorded three birdies and an eagle in a second-round 67 to reach 11 under and sit alongside Sweden’s Pelle Edberg, who also signed for a 67 at the Albatross Golf Resort.

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Belgium’s Thomas Pieters was a shot back on 10 under while two Englishmen, Robert Dinwiddie and Sam Hutsby, were in a tie for fourth at eight under along with Denmark’s Thorbjorn Olesen.

Pieters posted a 68 to set the early clubhouse target of 10 under, a score which looked increasingly challenging as wind picked up in the afternoon.

But Fitzpatrick impressed, particularly on the back nine. He picked up birdies at the 11th, sank a 30-foot putt for an eagle three at the 12th and then holed from 15 feet for another birdie on the last.

A top prize of 166,660 euros (£121,000) is on offer to the winner this week.

Fitzpatrick, who turns 21 next week, told europeantour.com: “I got a bit frustrated in the middle of the round when I wasn’t holing any putts. I missed a few chances but picked it up on the back nine.

“The putt on the 18th was a nice way to finish with a birdie, to pick up one more and move to the top.”

Fitzpatrick, who turned professional last year, is chasing a maiden European Tour win. He went close with a runner-up finish in Switzerland last month and is now hoping to go one better.

“I’m looking forward to the weekend now,” he said. “It’s another chance to put myself in contention for Sunday.”

Edberg, who played the back nine first, charged into contention with a strong finish. He claimed three birdies in succession from the fourth and another on the ninth.

Spain’s Eduardo de la Riva and Italian Renato Paratore, the overnight leaders, both fell away.

De la Riva slumped to three under after a four-over-par 76 while Paratore slipped to six under after a 73.

Hutsby, who had been one shot off the lead after round one, shot 70.

Compatriot Eddie Pepperell carded 68 to move to seven under alongside Northern Ireland’s Michael Hoey.