Determined Dawson hits the front in Spain
 Robin Dawson (IRL) during the first round of the European Nations Cup at Real Club de Golf Sotogrande. Picture: Golffile | Fran Caffrey   

Robin Dawson (IRL) during the first round of the European Nations Cup at Real Club de Golf Sotogrande. Picture: Golffile | Fran Caffrey

 

Robin Dawson looks determined to put two early season reverses behind him after he imperiously stormed into a share of the halfway lead in the European Nations Cups in Spain.

The fiery Tramore talent looks like he means business at Real Club de Golf de Sotogrande, where he carded a best-of-the-day, three-under-par 69 to lead on four-under-par with Welshman Jack Davidson, who signed for a second successive 70.

The celtic duo enjoy a whopping six-shot lead over another Welshman in David Boote, whose 76 leaves him alone in third on two-over-par.

Overnight leader Markus Braadlie of Norway followed his first round 68 with an 80 to share fifth on five-over with compatriot Kristoffer Reitan, England's Dan Brown and Xabier Gorospe from the host club.

 Alex Gleeson (IRL) during the first round at Real Club de Golf Sotogrande. Picture: Golffile | Fran Caffrey   

Alex Gleeson (IRL) during the first round at Real Club de Golf Sotogrande. Picture: Golffile | Fran Caffrey

 

Conditions were nominally easier ith the scoring average a sporty 78.1 compared to 78.5 on Wednesday.

But it proved to be a good day for Ireland, who moved up to second in the team standings, five strokes behind the Welsh.

Scoring was so tough that Tullamore's Stuart Grehan made two birdies in his last five holes and shot a level par 72 that catapulted him 28 places up the leaderboard from 36th to tied eighth on six-over-par.

 Kevin LeBlanc reads a putt during the first round in Cádiz. Picture: Golffile | Fran Caffrey   

Kevin LeBlanc reads a putt during the first round in Cádiz. Picture: Golffile | Fran Caffrey

 

Castle's Alex Gleeson is two shots further back in joint 20th after a battling 75 that had a bit of everything - four birdies, three bogeys and two doubles.

The Island's Kevin LeBlanc will be disappointed with rounds of 79 and 81 on his debut at a venue that requires experience.

As for Dawson, who was forced to settle for the runner-up spot two weeks running in the South African Amateur Open Stroke Play and the Cape Province Open in February, the Maynooth University star looks like a man on a mission this week.

He is fully aware what a win would do for his chances of making the Walker Cup team and having racked up 10 birdies in his first two rounds, he appears to have more than enough firepower to get the job done.

He was three under with six to play and bogey-free in round two when he took five at the par-three 13th, which is statistically the toughest hole this week.

 Stuart Grehan. Picture: Golffile | Fran Caffrey   

Stuart Grehan. Picture: Golffile | Fran Caffrey

 

But he dug deep, bouncing back with a birdie four at the 14th and another birdie at the 16th to set a target that Davidson could only match.

The Welshman got to five-under for the tournament with an eagle at the 14th. But he bogeyed the next and parred his way home.

In the women's event, Scotland's Chloe Goadby (72 74) leads by three shots on two-over-par with Denmark and the Netherlands on top in the team standings.

Scores 

  • T1 DAWSON, ROBIN 71 69 140
  • T8 GREHAN, STUART 78 72 150
  • T19 GLEESON, ALEX 77 75 152
  • T58 LEBLANC, KEVIN 79 81 160