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  Friday, 20 July, 2001, 16:18 GMT 17:18 UK
Smyth all smiles after 65
Des Smyth
Des Smyth in contention after a second round 65
Des Smyth of Ireland was the surprise package of the second day's play at Royal Lytham.

The 47-year-old shot a sizzling 65 to move from being three-over to three-under for the championship.

Smyth, who qualified with a course record 64 at St Annes old links on Monday, picked up an amazing six shots in six holes around the turn, including an eagle three at the seventh.

"I am really pleased with that score," said Smyth. "I had it in my mind to make just one more and be the lowest score of the week. Yesterday I missed a lot of short putts.

"I was just focused on making the cut. That was big for me and what I wanted to do."

Darren Clarke
Darren Clarke is optimistic about his chances
Earlier this year, Smyth became the oldest player to win a European Tour event when he took the Madeira Open title.

Darren Clarke was in a positive mood after closing to within four shots of the lead, despite dropping strokes on the 15th and 16th holes.

The Ulsterman finished the second round on three under par after a carding a 69 and is optimistic about his chances over the weekend.

"It's only four shots and anything's possible on this course," said Clarke. "I was five under and had a putt to go six under on the 16th, hit a good putt but just missed it on the high side.

"I was giving myself opportunities but didn't manage to do it, then I made a couple of mistakes and the golf course is like that. If you don't hit it in the right place you are dead.

"I probably scored better than I should have. I didn't strike the ball as well as yesterday but the putting stroke felt good."

Better Day

Irishman Padraig Harrington enjoyed a better second day after a disastrous 75 on Thursday, safely making the cut after going round in 66 to be on one-under for the tournament at halfway.

Paul McGinley lost a stroke to par with a second round 72. At halfway, he is one-under for the Championship.

Amateur champion Michael Hoey from Belfast failed to make the cut.

He followed his opening day 73 with a 76 for a seven-over total of 149 after his two rounds.

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Des Smyth
"I am really pleased with that score"

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The 130th Open, at Royal Lytham

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