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Ferguson on charge but Crocker keeps lead

America’s Sean Crocker still leads the Hero Open, despite having his day-old course record broken by playing partner and temporary housemate Ewen Ferguson.

Crocker added a 66 to his opening 63 at St Andrews for a halfway total of 15 under par and a one-shot lead over Scott Jamieson, who fired eight birdies in a flawless 64 and has not dropped a shot over the first two days.

However, the round of the day belonged to Jamieson’s fellow Scot Ferguson, who climbed more than 120 places on the leaderboard by following an opening 73 with a stunning 61.

Starting on the back nine, Ferguson followed a par on the 10th with six straight birdies and made another on the 18th to reach the turn in 29.

Further birdies on the second and third raised the prospect of just the second 59 in DP World Tour history, but Ferguson could only pick up shots on the sixth and ninth.

“I played incredible and putted a lot better than I have been,” the 26-year-old said. “I’ve been working on that a lot with my dad and Goughie (Jamie Gough) to try and get the stroke right because the tempo was out.

“I still couldn’t get it then I woke up this morning feeling knackered and with not much hope (of making the cut) because the scoring had been so low. But Goughie came up to me with a piece of string that he put on the ground and told me to start hitting putts.

“I missed the cut last week despite not playing badly but my head was down because I’d putted badly. Sean Crocker came to my house at the weekend to stay and me and him, my brother and a couple of friends had a night out and relaxed, really.

“Then I was drawn with him this week and I think that helped us chill out. He went out and shot a course record yesterday (Thursday) and I must admit I felt extra nerves playing with him today because of that and having a chance to beat it. It is pretty cool.”

South Africa’s Wilco Nienaber remarkably matched Ferguson’s 61 in the tougher afternoon conditions as the low scoring meant the halfway cut fell at six under par, equalling the record on the DP World Tour.

New Zealand’s Daniel Hillier (eight under), Josh Geary (seven under) and Ryan Fox (six under) all made the cut, as did Australia’s Dimitrios Papadatos (seven under).

Defending champion Grant Forrest survived with nothing to spare following a 70 which included a remarkable par save on the 17th, where he bounced his second shot off a stone wall and on to the green before holing from 18 feet.

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