Peter Lawrie produced a stunning homeward nine of 30 as he blasted a seven-under par 64 to move into contention for his second tour win in the Castelló Masters.
The Dubliner, who is 40th in the Race to Dubai standings, came back from one-over par after three holes when he hit six birdies and an eagle to get to six under and trail leader Peter Hedblom by just three strokes at the Club de Campo del Mediterráneo.
“I got off to a bit of an unlucky start,” Lawrie said. “I hit the tree at the first (10th), hit the tree on the second (11th) and three putted the third (12th) to be one over after three. But after that I knuckled down and played nicely.”
Lawrie birdie the par five 13th and picked up another shot at the par-four 18th to turn in one under par before catching fire on the way home.
He said: “All of a sudden I started holing a few putts. Holed a great putt on the second, the third and the fourth and then hit a three wood to six inches on the eighth and birdied the last. It was a quick way of adding up to seven under.”
It was a massive improvement on his one over 72 in the first round and he’s hoping to make a run at the title in Castellon and then challenge for victory at Valderrama next week.
“Yesterday I didn’t get anything going. I don’t know if I was a little bit tired from last week,” he said. “Today I was much better and got in the mix. The course is quite short and the fairways are very firm, which suits me and the greens are soft and putt nicely.
“Hopefully we can put together two more good rounds and see what happens on Sunday.”
Lawrie fancies his chances of making a run for the title in next week’s Andalucia Masters at Valderrama, a course he believes is perfect for his accurate style.
He explained: “I was saying to my caddie that this week is a very good warm up for next week. The golf required is similar. You have to hit from A to B and then to C at Valderrama and this is the same as well.”
Hedblom also carded a seven under par 64 to lead by a shot on nine under from Spain’s Gonzalo Fernandez-Castaño, Italian Matteo Manassero and Scotland’s Paul Lawrie.
“I think the longest par putt I had today was a tap-in,” said the 40 year old. “Everything was going close and then one bad tee shot on the last. Still, in the lead with two days to go.”
Hedblom admits this has been something of a frustrating season - he is currently 98th on The Race to Dubai, which would represent his lowest position since 2002. But he is optimistic that a good finish in Valencia can reignite his chances of reaching next month’s Dubai World Championship.
José Maria Olazábal showed no signs of the health problems that have kept him off the course for most of the last year as he made the halfway cut with a three under par 68.
But Sergio Garcia struggled with his putter after a two-month break from the game, shooting a 73 to miss the cut by a shot at his hime course.
Michael Hoey is the next best of the Irish after a 70 left him on five under with Shane Lowry a futher two shots adrift after a 70.
Paul McGinley carded an impressive 66 to move up to two under alongside Damien McGrane, who bounced back from an opening xx with a stylish 65.
Gareth Maybin fell back down the field after a 73 to finish one under par but Simon Thornton is almost certainly heading back to December’s Q-School after missing the cut on three over par after a 70.
The Co Down based Englishman is unlikely to get more starts this season but he’s 141st in the money list with €116,954, around €75,000 shy of retaining his card.