Pieters claims halfway lead

European Tour

Thomas Pieters carded his second 69 of the week to claim a one-shot lead Friday’s second round of the Open de Espana at PGA Catalunya.

Starting his round on the 10th, the Belgian player had four bogeys in his first nine holes, but hit back with five birdies on the back nine to reach the half-way stage at six-under.

First round leader Eddie Pepperell had an eagle and a double bogey en route to a second round 71 to finish the day in a tie for second place alongside Joost Luiten (69).

“The game’s been pretty good for two days and five under puts me in a really nice spot for the weekend,” said Pepperell after the round.

“It was a great start and I hit some really nice shots early. I had three 10-footers for birdie, birdie and eagle and I holed them all. But it was an up and down day for me. I hit some good shots in the early part of the round, but there were also some poor ones.

“Unfortunately, I made a double bogey where I played aggressively and it didn’t come off. I didn’t get the pace of the greens and had a couple of three putts when I bombed my first past the hole.”

Francesco Molinari is another shot further back on four-under after recovering from a 73 on Thursday to card six birdies and one bogey in his second round 67.
Alvaro Quiros (67) England’s Richard Bland (68) and Scotland’s Richie Ramsey (72) finished the die on three-under, while Miguel Angel Jimenez finished the round in a tie for eighth place on two-under after a 73.

Joining the popular Spaniard in eighth place is Paul Lawrie, who had to settle for an even par 72 on the day.

In tricky conditions for stroke play, some reasonably high-profile players failed to make the cut, including Pablo Larrazabal (+5), George Coetzee (+6) and Thomas Bjorn (+9).

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