Betfred British Masters R2

Dale Whitnell delivers flawless second round

July 22-25
Close House GC, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England
€1,250,000
Round 1, Round 3, Round 4


Betfred British Masters R2 - Whitnell delivers flawless round
England’s Dale Whitnell is one shot off the halfway lead in the British Masters (Mike Egerton/PA)


Former courier Dale Whitnell is in position to deliver a life-changing victory after a brilliant second round in the Betfred British Masters.


Whitnell fired an eagle and five birdies in a flawless 64 at Close House to finish 10 under par on the European Tour’s full return to action, a shot behind Italy’s Renato Paratore.

The 31-year-old from Colchester played on the 2009 Walker Cup team alongside Tommy Fleetwood but struggled to establish himself in the professional ranks and was forced to take on a courier job for 10 months to make ends meet.



A victory on the Portugal Pro Golf Tour earned him five Challenge Tour invites in 2019 and he won the KPMG Trophy last September before claiming his European Tour card from the qualifying school.

“I’ve been working hard on my game and this course suits me because it’s a little bit fiddly in places,” said Whitnell, who had not earned a single penny from five events in 2020 before the circuit shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic.


“I’m just trying to go about my business like I normally would and if it’s good enough, it’s good enough.”

The first prize of £187,000 and two-year European Tour exemption would be life-changing but Whitnell added: “I try not to think about it, but it can be.

“Two-and-a-half years ago I went and got a job, I was a courier driver, just to finance my year playing on the mini tours. Financially it just wasn’t viable, I couldn’t carry on, so I got a job to pay for it and the rest is history I suppose.



“The peaks and troughs of the golf profession are very interesting. You’ve just got to try to deal with it the best you can. I love the game, I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t and my amateur career speaks for itself.

“I played Walker Cup with Tommy Fleetwood, I know all of those guys that I grew up with. I know that on my game I can compete with those guys.”

South Africa’s Justin Harding fired a brilliant 63, the lowest round of the week so far, to sit alongside Whitnell on 10 under, with David Law, Calum Hill, Ashley Chesters and Rasmus Hojgaard a stroke further back.



Ryan Fox is three off the pace following a second consecutive 67 which made the long journey from New Zealand worth the effort.

Read next

Interview with David Hunter

19th Hole
By GT Editor

“I landed on Sunday morning, drove up here straight away, got tested as soon as I got here,” Fox said. “I waited for the result and managed to check myself into the hotel, socially distance and self-isolate basically.

“As soon as I got the negative result I was fine to come to the golf course and practice and have lunch in the clubhouse. It’s a bit different than normal but it’s certainly better than sitting at home and not playing any golf, that’s for sure.

“Unfortunately my wife is not travelling with me at the moment like she usually does but I’m out here for three months, then two weeks of managed isolation when I get back to New Zealand which will be quite difficult, but at least we’ve got some events on the schedule. That makes the trip worthwhile.”

The European Tour’s strict protocols to prevent cases of Covid-19 have been widely applauded, but did lead to the withdrawal of England’s Andrew Johnston after nine holes of his opening round.

Betfred British Masters R2 - Whitnell delivers flawless round
New Zealand’s Ryan Fox on the 16th during day two of the Betfred British Masters at Close House (Mike Egerton/PA)


Johnston, who opened up last year about the mental health struggles that followed his rapid rise to fame after winning the 2016 Spanish Open, said: “Being here and being confined to the hotel and course and not being able to bring my family is ultimately not what I want at this moment.

“I’m struggling to get my head around it all. One minute I’m coming out of lockdown, going out for dinner, and then the next I’m back in lockdown in a hotel room.”

Tournament host and club member Lee Westwood was in danger of making an early exit after a double bogey on the first, but the 47-year-old fought back to shoot 71 and make the cut on the mark of one under.


Pos.
Player
To Par
R1
R2
Total
1
Renato Paratore
-11
65
66
131
T2
Justin Harding
-10
69
63
132
Dale Whitnell
-10
68
64
132
T4
Ashley Chesters
-9
67
66
133
Calum Hill
-9
67
66
133
Rasmus Højgaard
-9
66
67
133
David Law
-9
64
69
133
T8
Oliver Fisher
-8
65
69
134
Ryan Fox
-8
67
67
134
T10
Pedro Figueiredo
-7
66
69
135
Robert Rock
-7
69
66
135
Ben Stow
-7
67
68
135
T13
Jonathan Caldwell
-6
67
69
136
Matthew Jordan
-6
68
68
136
Eddie Pepperell
-6
67
69
136
Garrick Porteous
-6
65
71
136
Clement Sordet
-6
69
67
136
Toby Tree
-6
69
67
136
T19
Aaron Cockerill
-5
66
71
137
Jens Fahrbring
-5
68
69
137
Adrian Meronk
-5
69
68
137
Robin Roussel
-5
69
68
137
Jack Singh Brar
-5
67
70
137
Andy Sullivan
-5
68
69
137
Jeff Winther
-5
70
67
137
Lars van Meijel
-5
69
68
137
T27
Laurie Canter
-4
70
68
138
Gregory Havret
-4
70
68
138
Marcus Kinhult
-4
69
69
138
Pablo Larrazabal
-4
67
71
138
Adrian Otaegui
-4
73
65
138
Benjamin Poke
-4
70
68
138
Alvaro Quiros
-4
69
69
138
Jordan Smith
-4
69
69
138
T35
Adri Arnaus
-3
70
69
139
Richard Bland
-3
69
70
139
Ignacio Elvira Mijares
-3
71
68
139
David Horsey
-3
70
69
139
Scott Jamieson
-3
70
69
139
Miguel Angel Jiménez
-3
68
71
139
Rikard Karlberg
-3
69
70
139
Jake McLeod
-3
69
70
139
Aaron Rai
-3
69
70
139
Antoine Rozner
-3
72
67
139
Jason Scrivener
-3
70
69
139
T46
Alexander Björk
-2
68
72
140
Joachim B. Hansen
-2
70
70
140
Sam Horsfield
-2
70
70
140
Daan Huizing
-2
73
67
140
Mikko Korhonen
-2
71
69
140
Niklas Lemke
-2
70
70
140
Matthieu Pavon
-2
71
69
140
Haydn Porteous
-2
71
69
140
Richie Ramsay
-2
69
71
140
Lee Slattery
-2
66
74
140
Matthew Southgate
-2
70
70
140
Graeme Storm
-2
71
69
140
Johannes Veerman
-2
69
71
140
T59
Dave Coupland
-1
70
71
141
Sean Crocker
-1
67
74
141
Paul Dunne
-1
71
70
141
Gonzalo Fernandez-Castaño
-1
72
69
141
Grant Forrest
-1
70
71
141
Romain Langasque
-1
70
71
141
Guido Migliozzi
-1
71
70
141
Andrea Pavan
-1
69
72
141
Jack Senior
-1
71
70
141
Brandon Stone
-1
71
70
141
Scott Vincent
-1
69
72
141
Lee Westwood
-1
70
71
141
T71
Wil Besseling
E
70
72
142
Thomas Bjørn
E
73
69
142
Steven Brown
E
72
70
142
Ben Evans
E
73
69
142
Ross Fisher
E
70
72
142
David Howell
E
74
68
142
Nicolai Højgaard
E
72
70
142
Søren Kjeldsen
E
72
70
142
Carlos Pigem
E
71
71
142
Joel Sjoholm
E
68
74
142
Andrew Willey
E
70
72
142
T82
Maverick Antcliff
1
70
73
143
Louis De Jager
1
69
74
143
Thomas Detry
1
70
73
143
Bryce Easton
1
72
71
143
Rhys Enoch
1
68
75
143
Bailey Gill
1
74
69
143
Julien Guerrier
1
73
70
143
Maximilian Kieffer
1
70
73
143
Sihwan Kim
1
68
75
143
Edoardo Molinari
1
72
71
143
Chris Paisley
1
72
71
143
Tapio Pulkkanen
1
74
69
143
Adrien Saddier
1
68
75
143
Kalle Samooja
1
72
71
143
Ricardo Santos
1
75
68
143
Cormac Sharvin
1
73
70
143
T98
Marcus Armitage
2
71
73
144
Jamie Donaldson
2
69
75
144
Scott Hend
2
69
75
144
Paul Lawrie
2
71
73
144
Zander Lombard
2
72
72
144
Richard McEvoy
2
70
74
144
Connor Syme
2
72
72
144
T105
Dean Burmester
3
73
72
145
Calum Fyfe
3
72
73
145
Raphael Jacquelin
3
73
72
145
Masahiro Kawamura
3
73
72
145
Robin Sciot-Siegrist
3
76
69
145
Callum Shinkwin
3
73
72
145
Julian Suri
3
73
72
145
Darius van Driel
3
73
72
145
T113
Oliver Farr
4
74
72
146
Francesco Laporta
4
73
73
146
Alexander Levy
4
70
76
146
Lorenzo Scalise
4
73
73
146
Oliver Wilson
4
75
71
146
Min Woo Lee
4
73
73
146
T119
Alejandro Cañizares
5
77
70
147
Eduardo De la Riva
5
73
74
147
David Drysdale
5
78
69
147
Ewen Ferguson
5
76
71
147
Sebastian Garcia Rodriguez
5
74
73
147
James Morrison
5
70
77
147
T125
Michael Campbell
6
68
80
148
Justin Walters
6
72
76
148
T127
Gavin Moynihan
7
73
76
149
Sami Välimäki
7
75
74
149
T129
Michael Bullen
13
75
80
155
Marc Warren
13
78
77
155
RET
Jason Levermore
4
75
75
WD
Andrew Johnston
4
39
39