Ewen Ferguson reveals online abuse from gambler as Bob MacIntyre misses cut at Open de France
The 30-year-old won his second DP World Tour title at last season’s Portugal Masters to end the campaign a career-high 12th in the rankings and was selected in the Great Britain and Ireland team that was defeated by Continental Europe at the Hero Cup in January. He arrived at Le Golf National off the back of nine consecutive made cuts and was full of confidence after working on his putting in recent weeks.
“The last few weeks have been really good, been putting lovely, so there’s a lot of confidence in there,” he said. “Been doing a lot of work with my putting coach, Matt, back home and away at tournaments. It’s been a lot of work, lot of drills, lot of time on the putting green but the last week has been great on the putting green so it’s given me a lot of confidence.”
Smith put on an iron-play clinic as he carded five birdies in a row from the second to join the lead in Paris and, while he dropped two shots on the back nine, he also made four birdies to get to 12 under. Ferguson was in second after he recovered from an opening double-bogey to post a 67, responding with seven birdies to reach nine under.
The 27-year-old revealed he received some online criticism after putting his second shot at the opening hole in the water but was not concerned as he looks for a third Tour victory after winning twice last season. “I hit a perfect drive on the first, landed it on the green and spun it back into the water, but another good swing,” he said. “I just checked my phone there and I had an Instagram private message from a bettor saying that I’d ‘effed up’ his bet and ruined the tournament for myself. Obviously I haven’t, but I hope he doesn’t win his bet anyway.”
England’s Richard Mansell was in the group at seven under, one clear of two of his countrymen in Matthew Southgate and Andrew Wilson. Scot Robert MacIntyre, the only playing member of Europe’s Ryder Cup team in the field ahead of taking on the United States in Rome next week, missed the cut by six shots after a second-round 77 left him six over.