NEWCASTLE-UPON-TYNE, England — Tyrrell Hatton shot a 5-under 65 in miserable conditions in his second round to lead by three strokes at the British Masters, where the leaderboard was dominated by English players on Friday.
Lee Westwood, who is hosting the tournament, and Ian Poulter also shot 65 and were two of four Englishmen in a five-way tie for second behind their compatriot.
Hatton was on 12 under overall, having followed up an opening-round 63 by making six birdies in rainy and cold conditions at Close House in northern England.
"It’s good to be back in form with a big run of events coming up with huge world ranking points," said the 29th-ranked Hatton, who was tied for third at the European Masters in early September. "I’d like to play as well as I can and climb up the world rankings and secure (a place) in all four majors again next year."
Westwood added a 65 to his opening 66 and has yet to drop a shot this week, despite coping with the demands of hosting the event — such as hiring an extra field for additional parking as more than 18,000 spectators attended on Thursday.
"It was a bit of a relief to actually be a golfer again," Westwood said.
There were seven English players in the top nine heading into the third round. That round will include Rory McIlroy after the world No. 6 responded to two bogeys in his first five holes that left him hovering around the projected cut.
McIlroy did not drop a shot after that, making birdie on Nos. 6, 11 and 17 for a 69, leaving him on 4 under overall.
Masters champion Sergio Garcia missed the cut, which was at 2 under, after rounds of 70 and 69.