English in charge at British Masters

30 September 2017 03:37:39 EST

Tyrrell Hatton took control of the British Masters at Close House GC, building a three-shot lead over the field at the halfway stage on 12-under-par 128.

The Englishman's advantage looks strong and yet he will be hunted throughout the weekend by a group of compatriots with no fewer than six of them joining him in the top nine.

Hatton is chasing his second European Tour title just one week before the 25-year-old defends his Alfred Dunhill Links Championship - and he is doing so with friend Jonathan Bell on the bag.

"We're just trying to have a bit of fun out there," he said after his second round 65. "I feel like I've been sort of laughing a bit more.

"He's helped me do that but I think playing better certainly helps as well. We had a good result in Switzerland and hopefully we can have another good one here."

In the group of five players tied second on 9-under are the veterans Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter, both of whom also shot 65s.

Westwood joked after his effort that the course was offering him respite from the demands of being host for the week, but he's proud of what he and the tournament have achieved.

"It was nice to stand on that first tee yesterday and see so many people here," he said. "And I guess it's nice for the host to be in contention.

"I haven't made a bogey yet this week and I made a few more putts today."

Poulter was enthusiastic and confident after dealing with the morning rain.

"I'm playing well," he said. "This morning was pretty miserable, I have to say. Brolly up-and-down all morning, and we got quite wet out there at times.
 
"I'm hitting the ball pretty solid, so I'm going to give myself decent chances if I continue to have looks from inside 15 feet.

"Hopefully I'll get a few putts to drop and it adds up to a decent score."

Hatton is 1000/1 to complete the victory with Westwood 28/1 and Poulter 33/1.

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