sport

Four-way tie in Cologne

Englishman Danny Willett is one of four players in a share of the lead at the halfway stage of the BMW International Open in Cologne.

The Yorkshireman was able to laugh off a stiff neck and shoulder and a shank at his last hole afer signing for a second round 68.

The 26-year-old saw his 155-yard approach to the ninth - the last of his second round - veer wildly off to the right, narrowly clearing the water guarding the adjacent 18th green and coming up just short of the putting surface.

From there the 2012 champion saved par to keep a bogey off his card as he finished with a 68 - matched by playing partner and co-leader Rafa Cabrera-Bello - to post 12 under for 36 holes.

They were later joined by another Spaniard Pablo Larrazabal and Argentinian Emiliano Grillo.

"Twelve under was great score for two days and the shoulder was good early on," Willett, who missed Wednesday's pro-am because of his neck problem, told European Tour Radio.

"I completely forgot to take any pills after nine holes and I could feel it in the last few holes.

"The only thing you can do is laugh as it (the shank) is not something that happens very often."

Cabrera-Bello's round was not without incident either as he called a penalty on himself for a double-hit at the par-five seventh after clipping the ball twice hitting out of the greenside rough, resulting in his only bogey of the day.

Larrazabal, winner in 2011, shot a best of the day 63 which was matched by Wirral golfer Paul Waring who narrowly missed a birdie putt at the last to close on nine under.

Argentinian Grillo was five under through 11 holes but finished with a 66, although that was still good enough for a share of top spot.

The 21-year-old admits his performances over the last two days have helped put a smile back on his face.

"It's been a rough couple of months personally and on the golf course so I'm happy with the week so far," he said.

"My dad passed away in December so it has been a long six months dealing with everything you have to deal with back home.

"I've learned a lot of things about life with that and I think I am growing up fast."

An approaching late afternoon thunderstorm forced a suspension in play and halted the charge of Nuneaton's Andy Sullivan, who was six under for 11 holes of his round and in a share of first place but eventually finished nine under after a double bogey at his last.

Denmark's Andreas Harto, who in 14 events this season has yet to win a single euro in prize money, made his first cut of the year after a round of 66 moved him to within two of the leaders to guarantee him a payday of at least 2,900 - although if he maintains his position in the top 10 he will receive more than 10times that amount.

Harto was in the pack at 10 under alongside South African Branden Grace, Spain's Miguel Angel Jimenez, German Alex Cejka, Sweden's Robert Karlsson and Scot Craig Lee.

US Open champion and home favourite Martin Kaymer, on his first appearance since winning his second major at Pinehurst earlier this month, missed the cut after a 73 left him one over.