Pro Golf Weekly

Marcus Kinhult Leads HNA Open de France at Halftime

Marcus Kinhult fired a sizzling second-round 65 to secure the pole position at the halfway point of the HNA Open de France.

Marcus Kinhult of Sweden takes a shot during round two of the 2018 Open de France at Le Golf National. Credit: Getty Images/Tony Marshall

Taking advantage of a morning tee time, amidst calmer conditions, the Swede burst out of the gate at Le Golf National, sandwiching a pair of birdies between an eagle on hole Nos. 2-4 to quickly grab a share of the lead. Two more birdies on Nos. 7 and 8 put Kinhult alone on top, while another gain on the par-4 13th moved him to 7-under par. But two late bogeys (Nos. 14 and 18), offset by just one more birdie, dropped the 21-year old back to 6-under par, two clear of the field.

“It feels good. It feels really good,” said Kinhult. “Yeah, I got off to a great start and played well from there.

“I guess the wind picked up a little bit on the back nine, the last four or five holes or so, but yeah, happy overall. Good round.”

Englishman Chris Wood closed with birdies on Nos. 14, 15 and 18 to sign for a 68 and a two-day total of 4-under par, good for solo-second. The 30-year old long bomber will be paired with Kinhult in Saturday’s final group.

“You’re going to have to grind over the week. I think I heard Fitzpatrick say this morning there’s not any hole where you feel like you get a stretch of where you can relax, but feel like there’s a few chances,” said Wood of the weekend that lies ahead at the challenging French course.

“Next week you feel like, okay, going to have some wedge holes coming up ahead. Every shot you have to be on it.

“It’s brilliant, though. It’s a great test. I’ve always loved the golf course, but never really been able to.”

First-round leader Bradley Dredge carded a 72 on Friday to remain in the hunt at 3-under par, alongside Spanish superstar Jon Rahm, who fired a day-two 69.

World No. 2 Justin Thomas posted his second-straight 70 and sits T5 at 2-under par. But as was the case yesterday, the 25-year old American made a late double bogey to put a damper on an otherwise impressive round.

Thomas’ compatriot, Julian Suri, was also at T5, as was Englishman Matthew Fitzpatrick, and hometown hero Gregory Havret.

Paul Dunne reeled off four birdies over his first seven holes en route to a 67 and a two-day score of 1-under par 141. The Irishman sits T9, alongside Scot Russell Knox (70), Finn Mikko Ilonen (69), Englishmen Tyrrell Hatton (67) and Jordan Smith (70), and Spaniards Alvaro Quiros (67) and Pedro Oriol (70).

One further back at even-par 142 was Thomas Pieters, who struggled to a 73. The Belgian bomber was T16 along with Spaniard Sergio Garcia (70), among others.

After opening-round 68s, Andy Sullivan and Graeme McDowell found themselves tied for second place, but both veterans tumbled down the leaderboard after struggling on Friday. Sullivan carded a 75 to drop 20 spots down the leaderboard to T22 at 1-over par 143, while McDowell ballooned to 77 and lost 39 positions, finishing at 2-over par and T41.

Top-ranked Frenchman Alexander Levy (73-73) slid in under the cut at 4-over par, while defending champion Tommy Fleetwood (74-73) shot a second-straight over-par round to miss the weekend at 5-over par. Top-ranked Spaniard Rafa Cabrera-Bello (73-74) was also sent packing after two rounds of play.


THE TOP 10

1. Marcus Kinhult -6 (71-65)
2. Chris Wood -4 (70-68)
3. Jon Rahm -3 (70-69)
3. Bradley Dredge -3 (67-72)
5. Justin Thomas -2 (70-70)
5. Julian Suri -2 (70-70)
5. Matthew Fitzpatrick -2 (71-69)
5. Gregory Havret -2 (70-70)
9. Jordan Smith -1 (71-70)
9. Russell Knox -1 (71-70)
9. Alvaro Quiros -1 (74-67)
9. Tyrrell Hatton -1 (74-67)
9. Mikko Ilonen -1 (72-69)
9. Paul Dunne -1 (74-67)
9. Pedro Oriol -1 (71-70)

NOTABLES

16. Thomas Pieters E (69-73)
16. Sergio Garcia E (72-71)
22. Andy Sullivan +1 (68-75)
30. Haotong Li +2 (71-73)
41. Graeme McDowell +3 (68-77)
41. Shubhankar Sharma +3 (76-69)
41. Alex Noren +3 (73-72)
41. Shane Lowry +3 (70-75)
55. Ian Poulter +4 (72-74)
55. Alexander Levy +4 (73-73)

NOTABLES MISSING CUT

66. Rafa Cabrera-Bello +5 (73-74)
66. Tommy Fleetwood +5 (74-73)
72. Matt Wallace +6 (74-74)
72. Danny Willett +6 (73-75)
72. Thongchai Jaidee +6 (76-72)
85. Thorbjorn Olesen +7 (72-77)
85. S.S.P. Chawrasia +7 (75-74)
123. Martin Kaymer +11 (77-76)
142. Thomas Bjorn +16 (81-77)
155. Jose Maria Olazabal +27 (85-84)
RET. Lee Westwood +10 (77-)
W/D. Andrew Johnston +11 (82)


STAT LEADERS

DRIVING
1. Jacques Kruyswijk – 326.8 yards (T41, +3)
2. Dean Burmester – 317.5 yards (T22, +1)
3. Ryan Fox – 315.5 yards (T22, +1)
87. Marcus Kinhult – 286.5 yards (1st, -6)

FAIRWAYS
1. Lorenzo Gagli – 24/28, 85.7% (T103, +9)
2. Ross Fisher – 22/28, 78.6% (T103, +9)
3. Ricardo Gouveia – 21/28, 75.0% (T41, +3)
60. Marcus Kinhult – 16/28, 57.1% (1st, -4)

GREENS
1. Dylan Frittelli – 29/36, 80.6% (T16, E)
2. Tyrrell Hatton – 28/36, 77.8% (T9, -1)
3. Marcus Kinhult – 27/36, 75.0% (1st, -6)
3. Matthew Fitzpatrick – 27/36, 75.0% (T5, -2)
3. Julian Suri – 27/36, 75.0% (T5, -2)
3. Jordan Smith – 27/36, 75.0% (T9, -1)
3. Russell Knox – 27/36, 75.0% (T9, -1)


VIDEO: SHOT OF THE DAY

Andy Sullivan struggled for much of Friday, but on the par-5 14th hole, the Englishman holed out from long range after his third shot from the deep stuff went long. Sullivan finished with a 75 and sits T22 at 1-over par.

A post shared by European Tour (@europeantour) on


QUOTABLE

“Yeah. Actually, I don’t enjoy the wind that much. I prefer when it’s calm. But yeah, when I hit it well, it’s not a big factor. If you strike the ball well, it’s not a big deal if it stays like this. If it picks up more, then it’s going to be really tough.”
– Marcus Kinhult

Jeff Smith

Jeff is a writer and content producer for Pro Golf Weekly. He is working on a book, documenting the 2017 and 2018 seasons on the major golf tours.

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