Luck rains on McLardy

Helped by a decision to cut the rain-hit Italian Open from 72 to 54 holes - for the third time in six years - South African Andrew McLardy could have a first European Tour win to celebrate along with the birth of his first child this month.

Helped by a decision to cut the rain-hit Italian Open from 72 to 54 holes - for the third time in six years - South African Andrew McLardy could have a first European Tour win to celebrate along with the birth of his first child this month.

McLardy moved to 14 under par, one ahead of England's Nick Dougherty, with a second successive 65 at Tolcinasco near Milan, and was then told the forecast for possible thunderstorms meant today's third round will also be its last.

The 33-year-old, second in Madeira in 2005 and at the Joburg Open in January, heads home next week to await the arrival of his baby daughter on May 24.

"Six in the morning, C-section," said McLardy matter-of-factly.

"In South Africa it seems to be the fashion and all my wife's friends seem to have it."

Dougherty's 64, which equalled the lowest of his Tour career, lifted him into second place, one ahead of big-hitting Spaniard Alvaro Quiros, Austrian Markus Brier - both of whom are seeking their second victories of the season - and Swede Joakim Backstrom, the player who broke the course record with his 62 on Thursday.

Nearly nine hours were lost on Friday and players had to wait an extra 90 minutes to resume the second round yesterday morning.

Then, just after Dougherty had finished, play was suspended yet again at 4.40pm because of the danger of lightning.

McLardy, actually born in Zimbabwe of Scottish parents, birdied seven of the last 10 holes, while Dougherty played the same stretch in six under.

Quiros, meanwhile, finished his 67 with a massive drive and towering eight-iron to seven feet for an eagle on the 513-yard ninth.

The 24-year-old earned this tribute from playing partner David Lynn: "He's the best I've played with out here."

Tom Lehman, last year's American Ryder Cup captain, added a 68 to his opening 70 to stand six under, while playing partner Francesco Molinari, who last year became the first home winner since 1980, was eight under.

The delay yesterday was just over two hours and when play resumed at 6.45pm it did so without Jean van de Velde, Jamie Spence and Warren Bennett.

None could make the halfway cut, but they were all disqualified for not resuming their rounds.

Men

Magdalene fields (Berwick): M & W Trophy, round two: 44 pts G Ramsay; 45 K Hutton, 45 D Kerr. J T Johnson Shield: 39 pts (better back 9) D Findlay, 39 S Virtue; 38 H Grey.

HIRSEL (Coldstream): Jackson & Williamson Cup, qualifying round: 80-14-66 T Davies; 76-8-68 B Rutherford; 75-6-69 A Rutherford.

BAMBURGH NAYP Medal:79-17-62 R D Little; 78-11-67 (on first 9) C Toothill; 79-12-67 D Wynes; 69-1-68 P Sanderson; 80-11-69 P Holmes; 74-5-69 J Cairns; 80-11-69 G W Stephenson

DUNSTANBURGH North Northumberland League Open Day: Individual Goss 73 M Carss (Dunstanburgh); 78 ARW Potts (Berwick); 79 J Stevenson (Alnmouth Village), A Jones Seahouses: 80 A McGrady (Dunstanburgh), S Potts (Dunstanburgh). Net 86-15-71 G Mallaburn (Dunstanburgh): 79-7-72 A Jones (Seahouses): 80-8-72 J Kelly (Walkworth): 73-1-72 M Carrs (Dunstanburgh): 84-11-73 T Capron (Walkworth): 81-8-73 P Jobson (Alnwick)

ALNMOUTH VILLAGE Miners Lamp: 40 D Brown; 39 L Aitken; 39 G Ridgeway; 38 T C Harris; 38 K L Robson 37 C J Potter; 36 P Atkinson

ALNMOUTH (Foxton): Walker Cross 76-11-65 W Walker 75-9-66 I Pringle (on last 9) 85-19-66 T Grey 88-21-67 B Strang 92-25-67 S Poole 88-19-69 J Aitken (on last 9)

LADIES

BERWICK (Goswick): Edythe McGregor Trophy: 36 pts (better back 9) G Lumsden; 36 C Nixon, 36 P Thomas. Coronation Foursomes: 35 pts (better back 9) G Lumsdon & L Frater; 35 J Jones & A Kinloch.

MAGDFALENE FIELDS (Berwick): Richards Cup: 46 pts E Burn & J Rea; 45 J Redpath & A Short; 40 Y Gullan & M Black.

DUNS: Hardens Trophy: Silver Section: 87-12-75 E Preston; 97-20-77 I Martin; 91-12-79 M Davidson. Bronze Section: 102-30-72 S Marshall, 102-25-77 H Ainslie.

EYEMOUTH: April Medal: Silver Section: 89-17-72 N Blackie; 94-19-75 G Davison; 98-20-78 S Thomson. Bronze Section: 95-23-72 M McMurchle; 102-27-75 M Blackie; 99-22-77 M Gibson.

DUNSTANBURGH CASTLE LADIES: LGU & County Medal, Sutherland & Callers Qualifier: 90-15-75 Isabel Wright (Sutherland Qualifier); 102-27-75 Margaret Readman; 93-14-79 Dorothy Wilkinson (Callers Qualifier).

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