Home favourite Martin Kaymer takes two-shot lead at BMW International Open
Kaymer hunting for first win in five years as defending champion Matt Wallace stays in contention for back-to-back titles
By Keith Jackson
Last Updated: 21/06/19 7:10pm
Martin Kaymer continued to thrill his home fans in Munich as he opened up a two-shot lead at the halfway stage of the BMW International Open.
Kaymer followed up his opening 67 with a six-under 66 in which he recovered from an uncertain start, carding five birdies on the back nine to vault into the outright lead on 11 under par.
Defending champion Matt Wallace is well placed to contend again as he goes into the weekend four strokes off the pace along with Lee Westwood, but Sergio Garcia was a high-profile casualty and missed the halfway cut by a single shot.
Kaymer is without a win since capturing his second major at the 2014 US Open, but he has shown encouraging signs of a return to form in recent weeks when he finished third at The Memorial and enjoyed a solid week at Pebble Beach.
The former world No 1 is the man to catch at Golfclub Munchen Eichenried, although he made an erratic start to his second round with two bogeys and two birdies over the first four holes before another gain at the sixth got him under the card for the day.
The 34-year-old picked up another shot at 11 and then holed a superb bunker splash-out for a bonus birdie at the next, and he completed a hat-trick of birdies when he converted a pure approach to four feet on the 13th.
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Kaymer hit the top of the leaderboard wtih a 15-foot putt on the 15th green, and he signed off with a sublime up-and-down from a tricky position at the last for his eighth birdie of the day before taking time to express his appreciation for the support from the galleries.
"The support inspires, it's different," said Kaymer, who led The Memorial after 54 holes before fading on the final day and finishing four behind Patrick Cantlay. "Sometimes you feel embarrassed. It's a lot to handle at certain times because I'm not that kind of guy that likes to be in the spotlight - but it's a positive thing and I need to see it as something positive.
"It's going to be exciting for sure. It's never easy leading a golf tournament but fortunately I've done it a few times in my career. It's a very nice position to be in. Now I just play against myself, try to reach my number and hopefully it's enough to be in the lead on Saturday evening."
South Africa's Christiaan Bezuidenhout emerged as Kaymer's closest challenger as he posted the best round of the tournament so far, an eight-birdie 65 lifting him 21 places up the leaderboard and into outright second ahead of Kim Koivu (66) and Sebastian Soderberg (67).
Wallace, who has risen to 24th in the world rankings after a top-three finish at the PGA Championship and a tie for 12th at last week's US Open, kept himself in contention with a solid 68 that got him into a seven-way share of fifth place.
Westwood is also in that group although he was unable to build on a bright first half of his round, covering the back nine in 32 before his momentum stalled with a bogey at the second and he parred his final seven holes for a 69.
Former European Ryder Cup star Eduardo Molinari and big-hitting young Englishman Jordan Smith are also on seven under after 36 holes, while Matt Fitzpatrick and the ever-popular Andrew "Beef" Johnston are a further two strokes adrift.
But Garcia will have an unscheduled weekend off after he could only add a 70 to his opening 73, and he made his task tougher when he double-bogeyed the fourth before bouncing back with three birdies in four holes.
The Spaniard added another birdie at 13, but he was unable to make the four he needed at the par-five 18th to scrape into the weekend, while PGA Tour star Jhonattan Vegas is also heading home after making just one birdie in a scrappy 75 that dropped him to one over par.