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Zander Lombard pushes ahead by 1 at Irish Open

In this July 20, 2018 photo, Zander Lombard of South Africa plays off the 15th tee during the second round of the British Open Golf Championship in Carnoustie, Scotland. (Alastair Grant / Associated Press)
In this July 20, 2018 photo, Zander Lombard of South Africa plays off the 15th tee during the second round of the British Open Golf Championship in Carnoustie, Scotland. (Alastair Grant / Associated Press)
Associated Press

LAHINCH, Ireland – Zander Lombard shot a 3-under 67 on Friday to take a one-shot lead after two rounds of the Irish Open.

The 24-year-old South African, who hadn’t made a cut since early March, found himself inspired at bumpy, quirky Lahinch on Ireland’s West coast. He closed with three straight birdies in Thursday’s opening round for a 64, and he followed it up Friday by playing the back nine in 3 under to post 9-under 131.

“I’m so comfortable on links golf,” Lombard said. “It’s never just a normal shot. It’s always a little three-quarter, a little punch, judging the wind right. I’ve had great success on links golf in my amateur career.”

Eddie Pepperell endured cool, rainy conditions early in his round to shoot 67 and was 8 under.

“I looked out the window when I woke up and it looked OK, and then the first probably six, seven holes were really quite tough and drizzly and it was hard to get a flight on the ball, and it was tough,” Pepperell said. “We saw Lahinch probably a bit more the way we should see it today.”

Abraham Ancer, Jorge Campillo and Lee Westwood were two shots back. Campillo shot 64, the low round of the day.

Padraig Harrington followed up his opening-round 63 with a 73 to fall to 4 under.

“It really was tough conditions,” Harrington said. “You know, all my bogeys, like three of them were three-putts, the other two were chips from the edge of the greens, so I could have negated them with a good short game, and you need a good short game on a bad day, as it was.”

The top three finishers inside the top 10 who have not already qualified for the British Open will earn spots in the field at Royal Portrush.

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