Eddie Pepperell 'surprised' by fast start in comeback at Irish Open
By Sky Sports Golf
Last Updated: 05/07/19 3:39pm
Eddie Pepperell admitted that he didn’t expect to make such a strong start in his return from injury at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open.
The world No 36 hadn't featured competitively since the PGA Championship in May due to a back injury, although showed no ill-effects from his layoff during the first two rounds at Lahinch.
Pepperell followed an opening-round 65 with a three-under 67, in blustery conditions, to set the clubhouse target on Friday and bolster his hopes of registering a third European Tour title.
"I am pretty surprised," Pepperell said. "I guess what's more surprising is I don't feel like I've played great, but I've been kind of steady.
"My short game and putting has been very good, which I wasn't expecting. I really had no idea where I was standing at, so to have this performance through two rounds is certainly a nice surprise.
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"I feel pretty calm and comfortable, and I hope that my ball striking improves just a little bit. I'm comfortable in this position, so I'm expecting myself just to keep pushing forward and see where I am come Sunday evening."
Lee Westwood matched Pepperell's 67 to join the group on seven under, while overnight leader Padraig Harrington slipped down the leaderboard after following his opening-round 63 with a three-over 73.
"It was a little bit better on the back nine, but the conditions improved a lot," Harrington said. "It really felt tough early on and I had no momentum.
"A couple of bad mistakes early on, not getting up-and-down on the 1st and the 3rd and little things like that, and all of a sudden you're fighting it for most of the day.
"Obviously the leaders have done well and maybe the afternoon guys are going to get a bit of an advantage with the weather, but hopefully I haven't done too much damage. Four under par is still somewhat in it."
Watch the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open throughout the weekend live on Sky Sports. Live coverage continues on Saturday from midday on Sky Sports Golf.