Walker, Widegren lead in Portugal

European Tour

England’s Sam Walker and Pontus Widegren of Sweden grabbed a share of the Madeira Islands Open lead on Friday.

The duo both followed up opening-round 67s with six-under-par 66s to move to 11 under par for the tournament.

That was one shot clear of Spain’s Antonio Hortal, who held the lead after day one, but relinquished his advantage following a second-round 71.

Another Swede, Bjorn Akesson, follows on eight under alongside three others – Germany’s Pierre Relecom, Scotland’s Henry Scott and South African Brandon Stone.

Starting from the back nine, co-leader Walker picked up three early birdies before a stretch of 10 pars was interrupted by an eagle at the par-four sixth.

Another birdie at the next hole gave him a 66 and a share of the lead.

“It was tough out there,” said the 37-year-old. “But if you played with the wind a little bit you’d create some chances and that’s what I did. I played with the wind a little bit at the tenth and 11th and got two birdies there.

“I play with a fade so I can use the wind to my advantage a little more than other people. It was really steady. I didn’t make anything after the turn even though I was playing lovely. At the sixth I went over the corner with a driver and came up just short of the green, then I chipped in.

“At the seventh I was up in two and made a nice eagle and I just missed a putt at nine for birdie so it could have been better. It could have been better yesterday too but this is Madeira, it’s never easy here.”

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