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Dutchman Derksen takes two-stroke lead in Jeju

ROBERT-JAN Derksen of the Netherlands shot a three-under 69 in wet and windy conditions in Jeju Island, South Korea, yesterday to take a two-stroke lead after the second round of the Ballantine's Championship.

Derksen, who shot a 66 in the first round, mixed six birdies with a double bogey and a bogey on the 7,361-yard Pinx Golf Club course for a total of nine-under 135. Thailand's Thongchai Jaidee and Kang Wook-soon of South Korea were tied for second.

"It was a difficult day," Derksen said. "Every par was actually a good hole, and I managed to even squeeze in a few birdies."

Jaidee had three birdies and two bogeys to finish with a 71, while Kang's 69 featured four birdies and a bogey.

"I'm very happy with that," Jaidee said. "Early the wind is not very strong I think. But the last seven holes (had) very, very strong wind, and very difficult to play the course."

Overnight joint leader Mark Brown was three strokes off the pace after following his first-round 65 with a 73. The New Zealander was joined by Martin Pablo of Spain (69) and Italy's Alessandro Tadini (71).

Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano of Spain, who shot an eagle and six birdies yesterday to share the first-round lead, slumped to a 74 to sit at four-under along with five other players.

Three-time major winner Ernie Els and Henrik Stenson of Sweden both shot 74 to sit at two-under.

After clear skies and light breezes on Thursday, Els said yesterday's playing conditions came as something of a shock. "It feels like we're back in Scotland today," said the South African, who shot five bogeys against three birdies. "It's windy, cold. A good test of golf. I had a tough time out there today."

Els said the greens on the course were tough enough without the added challenge of the weather.

"It's difficult to read the greens and I've been having my problems there," he said. "I left about four or five shots out there on the greens."

Former Masters champion Fred Couples struggled with five bogeys and a double bogey for a 76 to join a group of 21 players at one-over, including Ireland's Paul McGinley.

Defending champion Graeme McDowell of Ireland was set to miss the cut after following Thursday's disappointing 76 with a 73 to sit at five-over 149.

Elsewhere, South Korean Charlie Wi took advantage of calm morning conditions to take a one-shot lead in Thursday's opening round of the New Orleans Classic in Avondale, Louisiana.

Seeking his first title on the PGA Tour, California-based Wi fired a flawless six-under par 66 to seize early control at the TPC Louisiana.

Australian Nathan Green opened with a 67, along with Americans Jay Williamson, Parker McLachlin, Charles Warren, Eric Axley and John Merrick, while Britain's Justin Rose and American Steve Stricker were among a group bunched on 68.


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