Recently crowned Spanish Amateur Open winner Reeve Whitson is the leading Irish player in the individual standings at the halfway stage of the European Nations Cup at Sotogrande near Cadiz.
The Mourne player added a level par 72 to his opening 74 to share seventh place with the likes of Javier Ballesteros (son of the late Severiano) on two over par 146, six strokes behind Germany’s Maximilian Roehrig (72-68).
Ballymena’s Dermot McElroy posted a fine 69 to move up to joint 17th on 148 with North of Ireland champion Rory McNamara (73) of Headfort and Rathamore’s Amateur champion Alan Dunbar (75), a shot further back.
Roehrig leads by two strokes from Adrien Saddier (72-70), runner up to Whitson at La Manga last week, with France (432) leading the team competition by four strokes from England (436) with Germany (438) third on a countback from Ireland.
Inaugurated in 1964 as the first Robert Trent Jones designed course in Europe, Sotogrande will undergo a thorough restuaration in 2014 to co-incide with its 50th anniversary.
The 6,304 metre, par 72 course features over 100 bunkers, 59 of which are situated around the greens.
The restoration, which will be carried out by Trent Jones’ long-time collaborator Roger Rulewich, will provide new drainage, the replacement of all grasses and the reconstruction of greens, bunkers and tees in keeping with the original design.
In a testamant to its quality, past winners at Sotogrande include Severiano Ballesteros, José María Olazábal, Roberto de Vicenzo, Sergio García, Padraig Harrington and Rory McIlroy.