Round Up: Liam Johnston stays in contention in Czech Masters

Liam Johnston tees off on the 13th during day two of the D+D Real Czech Masters at the Albatross Golf Resort in Prague. Picture: Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images
Liam Johnston tees off on the 13th during day two of the D+D Real Czech Masters at the Albatross Golf Resort in Prague. Picture: Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images
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Liam Johnston stayed in contention heading into the final two rounds of the D+D Real Czech Masters after using a four-week break to take stock in his rookie season on the European Tour.

The 26-year-old from Dumfries backed up a bogey-free 67 with a 69 at Albatross Golf Resort in Prague for an eight-under halfway total, sitting in a seven-way tie for seventh behind Italian Edoardo Molinari (66-66).

Johnston, a two-time winner on the Challenge Tour last season, is 159th in the Race to Dubai after blowing hot and cold in the opening half of the campaign, finishing eighth in the Kenya Open but missing 14 cuts.

“I played really nicely today, delighted with how it’s went the first two days,” he said, having dropped just two shots in 36 holes. Commenting on his season, the former Scottish Stroke-Play champion added: “I played a couple of events last year as well, so that was nice to get a feel for it before coming out here full time.

“But it has been a little bit daunting at the start for sure, stepping up on the tee with guys that you maybe watch when you’re younger on the TV. It’s definitely started to settle down now and it was a good four-week break to reflect and get ready for this stretch coming up.”

Scott Jamieson carded a second-round 67 for a five-under total while Richie Ramsay (71) and Bob MacIntyre (72) also made it through to the weekend as the cut eventually fell at three-under.

On the Challenge Tour, in-form Calum Hill is among four Scots sitting close to the lead at the halfway stage in the inaugural ISPS Handa World Invitational in Northern Ireland.

Seeking a third win of the season that would secure automatic promotion to the Challenge Tour, Hill carded a two-under 68 at Galgorm Castle to sit on six-under, one shot off the halfway pace.

Also to the fore in the ground-breakling event are Craig Ross (five-under), Connor Syme (four-under) and Ewen Ferguson (three-under).

At the end of a day when play was delayed due to bad weather, Englishman Todd Clements leads on seven-under after a second-round 66.

In the women’s event, which is being played simultaneously on the same two courses, Solheim Cup captain Catriona Matthew sits four shots off the lead, held by home player Stephanie Meadow and Marion De Roey of Belgium.

Alongside Matthew (74-71) on level-par are Carly Booth (72-73) and Charley Hull (73-72).

Elsewhere, leading qualifier Connor McKinney lost on the last to Italian Matteo Cristoni in the last 16 in the Boys’ Amateur Championship at Saunton.

Meanwhile, Slovenia’s Pia Babnik, winner of the Helen Holm Scottish Women’s Open at Troon earlier in the year, is through to the semi-finals in the Girls’ Amateur at Panmure.