Bland climbs into Italian lead


Golf:Richard Bland’s second 66, courtesy of a three-birdie finish, saw him take the outright lead after the second round of the BMW Italian Open in Turin ahead of a four-way tie for second.

Bland birdied the first and turned in 35 before carding a blistering back nine of 31 to move to 12 under, one ahead of France’s Gregory Bourdy (64), Spain’s Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano (65), Scotland’s Marc Warren (65) and Garth Mulroy of South Africa (67).

Richard McEvoy was at 10 under after following his opening 66 with a four-under-par 68.

Overnight leader Joel Sjoholm could only manage a 71 to move to nine under, while Northern Ireland’s Gareth Maybin was also unable to build significantly on his score, carded the same score and that left him four off the pace on seven under.

He has Shane Lowry for company on after the former Irish Open champion holed five birdies in a round of 67.

Damien McGrane shot a 65 to move to six under with Michael Hoey (67), and two ahead of Peter Lawrie (70). Simon Thornton was one under after improving on yesterday’s level par round with a 71.

“This morning it was perfect conditions to play on this course," Bourdy, who led for much of the day, said. “It was a lovely round and I enjoyed it a lot. I was very solid and I’m very proud. Almost everything went right today. Last week my driving was wonderful and so were my irons, and that continued today. I’ll try to do the same at the weekend.”

English pair Lee Slattery and David Howell were hot on Sjoholm’s tail overnight and that was where they remained, shooting 71 and 70 respectively to join compatriot Robert Coles and a host of others on eight under.

Ryder Cup-bound Martin Kaymer, Spaniard Rafa Cabrera-Bello, Welshman Bradley Dredge, Darren Fichardt of South Africa and India’s Shiv Kapur completed the group.

A second Ryder Cup player, Italian Francesco Molinari, was in the group at seven under with Lowry, Maybin and Graeme Storm, who was fifth in Holland last week having led for two rounds and started well again here with rounds of 69 and 68.

Molinari’s brother Eduardo, the big-hitting Alvaro Quiros and Frenchman Thomas Levet were among the higher-profile players to miss the cut.

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