Scotland's MacIntyre seizes four-shot lead in Germany

MacIntyre finished tied-sixth at this year's British Open (AFP Photo/Glyn KIRK )
MacIntyre finished tied-sixth at this year's British Open (AFP Photo/Glyn KIRK )

Hamburg (AFP) - Scottish youngster Robert MacIntyre powered into a four-shot lead at the halfway stage of the European Open in Hamburg on Friday as overnight leader Paul Casey slipped off the pace.

The 23-year-old MacIntyre fired a brilliant seven-under-par 65 to put himself in pole position to claim a maiden European Tour title this weekend.

"It's going to be tough, especially when it's the first time that I've got such a lead –- whether on the Challenge Tour or here on the European Tour –- I'll have to learn from this experience," said the world number 113, who impressed by finishing tied-sixth in the British Open at Royal Portrush in July.

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"I'm doing the right things on the course and the right things off the course, I'm nice and relaxed.

"Everything at home has been brilliant, so I'm in the right mindset for going out this weekend."

He leads home hope Bernd Ritthammer by four strokes after carding seven birdies in a bogey-free effort to reach 11-under for the tournament.

Ritthammer, ranked 924th in the world and fighting to secure a European Tour card for next season, fired a 66 to jump into second place.

European Ryder Cup-winner Casey struggled to back up his opening-day 66, though, signing for a one-over 73 to drop into a tie for third on five-under.

The Englishman never managed to fully recover from making three bogeys in his first five holes after starting on the back nine.

"It's such a difficult golf course. Attitude is key, I had a good attitude," said Casey.

"There are possibilities to get birdies if you hit good golf shots –- I made a couple. But it's difficult."

Casey is level with in-form Austrian Matthias Schwab and Italy's Guido Migliozzi.

American world number nine Xander Schauffele bounced back from his first-round 73 with a three-under day, while former Masters champion Patrick Reed only made the cut by two shots on two-over.

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