Golf

Nick Dougherty makes first cut in two years in Singapore

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England's Nick Dougherty finally had something to smile about as he made it past the halfway cut on the European Tour for the first time since May 2012 at The Championship at Laguna National, Singapore. 

The 31-year-old fired a second-round 70 to go with his opening three-under 69, ensuring he'd play the weekend on the European circuit for the first time since his appearance at the Madeira Islands Open two years ago this month. 

Dougherty won the Rookie of the Year award in 2002 but had to wait three more years before announcing himself into the winners' circle with his breakthrough victory at the Singapore Masters. He went on to win both the Dunhill Links Championship and the BMW International Open as many within the game predicted a stellar career for the now-Sunningdale resident.

However, his form suffered a colossal drop off as he managed just one cut in 32 events in 2011, and he would subsequently go on to lose his Tour card - something he has not yet recovered. He now, sadly, has to rely on invites to events. 

Married to Sky Sports presenter Di Stewart, Dougherty was largely resigned to playing on the Challenge Tour, but making the weekend for only the third time in 43 outings in Europe suggests his game is finally heading in the right direction. 

At minus five, he sits eight shots back of world number 451 Panuphol Pittayarat who followed up Thursday's sublime nine-under 63 with a resolute 68 on Friday. He leads by one ahead of American David Lipsky, Russia's Felipe Aguilar and Australian Scott Hend after birdieing two his final three holes. 

Scotland's Scott Jamieson (71) sits four off the pace alongside the English duo of Tommy Fleetwood (67) - who finished runner-up last week in China - and Chris Wood (67). 

Pittayarat, though, set the pace ahead of the weekend despite never winning on Tour. He has also missed all three of his cuts on the Asian circuit this season.

Post-round, the Thai golfer admitted he's happy to be leading rather than chasing: "The two birdies in my last three holes were nice to end my round on.

"It's nice to be putting myself in a good position heading into the last two rounds. I'd rather stay up there than chase the lead actually. I just want to grab my first chance and not let it go." 

If the Thai can hold on to top spot over the weekend and secure his first victory, he will be hoping to avoid a similar fall from grace to that of Dougherty. For now, though, the former Sir Nick Faldo prodigy will find solace in his first working weekend in two years. 

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Topics:
European Tour
Golf
European Challenge Tour

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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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