|Published:||Jul 29, 2011 1:10 PM EDT|
|Updated:||Jul 30, 2011 6:30 AM EDT|
KILLARNEY, Ireland (AP) - British Open champion Darren Clarke was in danger of missing the cut at the Irish Open on Friday after falling 10 shots behind leader Jeev Milka Singh.
Playing in his first tournament since his first major win at Royal St. George's two weeks ago, Clarke dropped four shots over the second round on the way to a 3-over 74, leaving him 1 over at the halfway point.
With the projected cut at level par and possibly rising given the calm conditions in Killarney, the Northern Irishman looked likely to miss the weekend along with Ireland's three-time major winner Padraig Harrington, who was 3 over after a second-round 72.
"All in all, I'm disappointed with my score but there's always next week," said Clarke, referring to the WGC Bridgestone Invitational event in Akron, Ohio.
"A weekend off is not what I wanted coming here. It will not do me any harm but I'd much prefer to be playing. It's more mental fatigue than physical fatigue. I was trying, trying, trying and couldn't get anything going - I couldn't buy a putt."
A bogey at the par-4 last hole likely sealed Clarke's fate.
"I saw the cut was going to be 1 under and tried to make my chip, but was too aggressive with it," he said.
Past and present U.S. Open champions Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy were among the afternoon starters but both were a long way behind Singh, who followed up an opening-day 63 - his career-best round in 16 years on the European Tour - with a round of 70 for 9 under.
The Indian maintained the two-shot lead he held overnight, with England's Simon Wakefield (66) and France's Raphael Jacquelin (68) his closest challengers in the clubhouse.
Singh, looking for his fourth win on the European Tour, bogeyed the par-4 No. 17 to surrender a three-shot cushion but continued to be solid on the greens, rolling in a pair of birdies on either side of the turn.
"I'll take 1 under today," he said. "I struggled off the tee but I made a lot of par-saving putts so I'm happy."
Wakefield birdied two of the last three holes to shoot the lowest round of the morning starters and reach 7 under with Jacquelin, who won the Sicilian Open in March and finished eighth at the British Open.
A shot further back was 22-year-old Northern Irish amateur Paul Cutler, who added a 67 to his first-round 69. Ireland's Damien McGrane (67) was also in the clubhouse at 6 under.
Harrington, the winner of the tournament in 2007, had two bogeys and a double-bogey to damage his chances of making the cut. The fourth-ranked McIlroy shot 70 in the first round and fellow Northern Irishman McDowell carded 72.