Mikael Lundberg sets the pace at the Lyoness Open in Austria
Swede leading by a shot from England’s Lee Slattery while Ruaidhrí McGee is best of the Irish
Ruaidhri McGee of Ireland tees off during the Lyoness Open at the Diamond Country Club in Atzenbrugg, Austria. Photo: Paul Thomas/Getty Images
Slattery, 35, carded an eagle, five birdies and one bogey to return an impressive 66 at Diamond Country Club and lie just one shot behind playing partner Mikael Lundberg, who added a 68 to his opening 67.
Lundberg, whose previous wins came in the Russian Open in 2005 and 2008, parred the first two holes but then birdied the next four in succession to move into a four-shot lead.
The 40-year-old from Helsingborg, who failed to record a single top-10 finish last season and had to regain his card for the third successive year at the qualifying school, dropped his first shot of the day after a clumsy chip on the eighth.
And although he holed from 30 feet for birdie on the 12th, that proved to be his last one of the day as he missed from three feet on the next.
“The greens were slightly softer at the start of the round, so that made life a little bit easier for us,” Lundberg said.
Paraguay’s Fabrizio Zanotti is two off the pace on seven under after a 68, with Korea’s Sihwan Kim six under after also shooting 68 and defending champion Joost Luiten another stroke back following a flawless 67.
“I’m very happy with five under,” the 28-year-old Ryder Cup hopeful said. “I made some nice saves for par and that’s what you have to do around this course.
“You are going to be out of position sometimes and you have to play smart and try to save par. I am right back in there and that was the goal today, to try to make some ground on the leaders. We will see what happens and we have still 36 holes to go.”
Home favourite Bernd Wiesberger, who needs to win to secure his place in the US Open next week – second place might also be good enough depending on results elsewhere – is six off the pace after a round of 70.
Ruaidhrí McGee was best of the Irish in tied-18th place on one-under 143 following a two-under round of 70 yesterday. Simon Thornton is one over following his 74 while Michael Hoey also made the cut despite his 74. However, Peter Lawrie, David Higgins, Kevin Phelan and Damien McGrane all missed the cut.