Friday, September 22, 2017

Marc Warren in the mix at Portugal Masters

Nino Bertasio will take a one-shot lead into the weekend at the Portugal Masters after firing a second consecutive 65 on day two at Dom Pedro Victoria Golf Course.
The Italian entered the week needing a big finish to the season, sitting at 117th on the Race to Dubai Rankings presented by Rolex and also outside the top ten on the Access List.
He has just three European Tour top tens in his 61 events - including at this year's Lyoness Open - but the 2015 Qualifying School graduate got to 12 under today to put himself in pole position for a first European Tour win.
Lucas Bjerregaard and Scot Marc Warren - two men also on the outside looking in at the top 100 places in the Rankings - were then a shot behind, one clear of Joost Luiten and Jason Scrivener.
Bjerregaard is 114th with Warren 59 places below him but they made a mockery of those positions on a day of good scoring in Vilamoura.

The Dane set the target at 11 under with a 65 in the morning and Scot Warren went one better in the afternoon to join him at the summit before Bertasio birdied two of his last four holes to snatch the lead.
Those gains at the sixth and seventh added to earlier birdies on the 12th, 14th, 16th and 17th in a blemish-free effort.
"I'm feeling good," he said. "The game's really good. I had a bogey-free round today and it was very easy golf.

"I just missed one green and I chipped it to one foot so I never really struggled to make pars and had a lot of looks at birdies and I made some and missed some so it was a very easy six under.
"I'm really playing well, I'm hitting the ball well. It's a very good golf course if you're playing well because if you hit it well you're going to do well.
"I'm really happy with what me and (caddie) Rich are doing out there and we're both looking forward to the weekend."
Bjerregaard looked close to making his European Tour breakthrough in 2015 with four top fives in his last nine events but is still seeking that first European Tour win on the Algarve.
He had battled his way to a 66 despite finding the water twice on day one but his job was far more straightforward in round two with birdies on the fourth, fifth, seventh, eighth, 12th and 17th.

Warren is a three-time winner on the European Tour but has made just two of his last 12 cuts with a best finish in 2017 of tied 14th at the Made In Denmark.
He birdied the 11th and 16th before an eagle on the next helped him turn in 32 with further gains on the second, fifth and eighth.
The Scot (pictured on right) said:

"I drove the ball well again, the same as yesterday. On the end of my front nine, which was the back nine, I went birdie, eagle and that just kept the momentum going. “I like the golf course. Hopefully I’ll have a little bit better weekend this year. I think I finished top 15 or top 20 last year – I ran out of steam a little at the weekend – so hopefully I’ve saved plenty of birdies for the weekend this year.“Once you get to the weekend it’s easy to get ahead of yourself and try to force it and make birdies. I thought I was very good the first two days at being patient. “If I felt comfortable going for the flag then go for it, if not play for the middle of the green, which is tough to do when you see everyone making birdies, but hopefully the same attitude over the weekend will stand me in good stead."
Dutchman Luiten carried the momentum over from his opening 64 as he birdied the second and fourth, holed a long putt on the ninth and then put a stunning approach into the tenth before dropping his only shot of the day on the 14th.
Australia's Scrivener also made a positive start with birdies on the 11th, 13th, 15th and 17th but could not make any further progress in his last ten holes.
South African pair Dean Burmester and George Coetzee, English duo Eddie Pepperell and Graeme Storm, and Ireland's Shane Lowry were then at nine under, a shot ahead of defending champion Padraig Harrington, Belgian Thomas Detry and Spain's Nacho Elvira.

Danny Willett was delighted to see his hard work at home produce some results on the course as he fired a six under par 65 on day two of the Portugal Masters.
Willett has admitted he has not been at his best since his stunning triumph at the Masters Tournament in 2016 when he became the first Englishman to don the Green Jacket since Sir Nick Faldo 20 years earlier.
While he has enjoyed top fives at the BMW PGA Championship, Italian Open and Maybank Championship, that week in Malaysia in February was the last time he recorded a sub-70 round on the European Tour before Friday.
The 29 year old has changed his caddie and his coach and after seven birdies and a bogey gave him his lowest European Tour round in 371 days, he was delighted to be back to something like his brilliant best.
"I'm working hard," he said. "There's still a lot of bad shots in there. The good is kind of creeping in, we're still trying to eliminate a few of the bad rights but the processes are better and what we're working on is feeling better.
"The tricky thing in golf is that there as such fine margins in what you think is a good move or a bad move, a good strike or a bad strike.
"That's the reason why we've tried to play a few weeks in a row. The work I've been doing has felt really good at home on the range but it's a whole different ball game when you stand on the first tee and there's actually consequences to what you are doing.
"It's been nice to actually take it to the golf course today. It's a funny one, that doesn't mean we are going to take it tomorrow or Sunday.
"It's nice that we've got a chance now to get a few more rounds under the belt and keep putting the work in on the golf course and seeing about hitting the different shots and if you can do it under the circumstances."
Willett made birdies on the 12th, 15th, 17th, first, second and fourth and when he added another on the fifth after a smart up-and-down from a bunker, he was within touching distance of the leaders.
A ragged tee-shot on the seventh stalled his progress but a good weekend could bring European Tour title number six and the Yorkshireman was happy with his day's work.
"It was a slow start but we holed a couple of nice putts early in for a couple of saves and then I peeled off a few nice birdies on the two par fives on the back nine," he said.

par 142 (2x71)
130 N Bertasio (Italy) 65 65.
131 M Warren (Scotland) 67 64, L Bjerregaard (Denmark) 66 65
132 J Scrivener (Australia) 65 67, J Luiten (Netherlands) 67 66.
133 G Storm (England) 67 66, D Burmester (S Africa) 66 67, S Lowry (Ireland) 69 64, E Pepperell (England) 66 67, G Coetzee (S Africa) 64 69.

134 P Harrington (Ireland) 67 67 (T11)
136 D Willett (England) 71 65, S Jamieson (Scotland) 68 68 (T19).
137 C Syme (Scotland) 68 69 (T32)
138 P Lawrie (Scotland) 69 69, R Knox (Scotland) 69 69 (T44)

SCOTS WHO MISSED CUT (139 and better qualified)
141 D Drysdale 70 71, D Stewart 68 73.
147 C Lee 73 74
Withdrew: S Gallacher 74 wd





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