Molinari Now in Front of BMW PGA Championship

Francesco Molinari followed up his opening 70 with a 4-under 68 to take the halfway lead in the BMW PGA Championship. The European Tour event is taking place at a wet and chilly Wentworth Club in Surrey, England.

The 30-year-old Italian, a three-time winner in Europe and the younger brother of fellow pro Edoardo, stands at 6-under 138, one stroke ahead of South African George Coetzee (70), Scotland's Marc Warren (70), Spain's Alejandro Canazares (69) and England's Mark Foster (69).

"The conditions were quite tough but I hit the ball well and the putter is working well so I am really happy at the moment," Molinari told reporters. "Six-under is a good score given the conditions - I live over here now so I am used to it - and I'm in a great position going into the weekend, but it's a really tough course so anyone six or seven behind is still in it."

England's Eddie Pepperell had a 69 and is tied with another Italian, Matteo Manassero (71), for sixth at 140. Six players - including Lee Westwood and Ernie Els - share eighth at 141.

First-round leader, James Kingston, ballooned to a 77 after opening with a promising 6-under 66. The 47-year-old South African is now tied for 21st at 1-under 143.

Several 2012 European Ryder Cup team members missed the 36-hole cut of 2-over 146. The group includes the BMW PGA winner the past two years, Luke Donald, who shot a 72 Friday but couldn't overcome an opening 78. Also heading home are No. 2-ranked Rory McIlroy, Graeme McDowell - the winner of last week's Volvo World Match Play Championship, and Ian Poulter.

McIlroy carded rounds of 74 and 75 to fall well beyond the cut line. The Northern Irishman admitted the tough conditions were trying. "I'm definitely looking forward to getting back into some golf where I'm not playing in four layers," the 24-year-old told reporters.

"But it's the same for everyone out there and that's not really an excuse. I just didn't play well. When I play in these conditions, I sort of try and do too much with the ball sometimes, I start to hit some bad shots and those bad shots obviously cost me."

Donald agreed with his Ryder Cup teammate about the weather. "Even for England this is pretty unseasonal, and it made the course play tougher," said the Brit. "The last couple of years it's been pretty warm for this event and the ball traveled a lot.

"This year I've been hitting longer irons into some of these holes because of the weather. The bottom line, though, is I didn't play very well - I was 9-over for the first 21 holes and that is pretty terrible golf really."

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