Scotland defy brutal conditions to make move in World Cup

Russell Knox was well wrapped up in the brutal weather conditions for the second round of the ISPS Handa World Cup of Golf in Australia. Picture: Getty Images
Russell Knox was well wrapped up in the brutal weather conditions for the second round of the ISPS Handa World Cup of Golf in Australia. Picture: Getty Images
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Russell Knox and Martin Laird jumped into the top 10 after the Scottish pair coped well in brutal conditions on the second day of the ISPS Handa World Cup of Golf in Melbourne.

As Belgium and Korea reached the halfway stage in a share of the lead, the tartan twosome moved into joint-eighth in the 28-team event after leaping 12 spots.

On a day when torrential rain and gusting winds swept across the Metropolitan Golf Club, Knox and Laird carded a one-under-par 71 as the event switched to foursomes for the second circuit.

Only Mexican pair Abraham Ancer and Roberto Diaz, with a 70, scored better and the Scots were among just four teams who managed to break par.

Knox and Laird, who are joining forces for a second time this year after finishing joint-seventh in the Zurich Classic in New Orleans back in April, signed for three birdies and two bogeys.

The effort left the Scots on six-under, four shots off the pace heading into the second fourball round on Saturday before the event concludes with another round of foursomes.

Belgium duo Thomas Detry and Thomas Pieters also carded a 71 to join Korean pair Ben An and Si Woo Kim at the top of the leaderboard on 10-under.

“I think we played very solid,” said Pieters, a member of the 2016 Ryder Cup team. “Both of us were pretty much on our games.

“Thomas holed out great from six, seven feet in and I made some really good recovery bunker shots, so we saved ourselves some good pars.”

England, the joint-overnight leaders with Australia and Korea, slipped to third place, two shots off the lead, after Ryder Cup team-mates Tyrrell Hatton and Ian Poulter had to settle for a 74.

They are alongside Italy (71), India (72) and Malaysia (73), with Mexico on seven-under and Australian pair Marc Leishman and Cam Smith sitting on the same total as Scotland.

Defending champions Denmark are six shots off the lead after Soren Kjeldsen and Thorbjorn Olesen could only manage a 77, with Irish pair Shane Lowry and Paul Dunne also on four-under.