Saturday, 13 May 2000
Swedish golfers look to have the Costa Blanca Challenge in their grasp with three of their number leading the way at Bonalba. Henrik Stenson, 22, carded a best-of-the-day 66 to romp ahead on 12-under-par 204, two clear of Johan Rystrom, the overnight leader, after a 73, and Martin Erlandsson, who shot 71.

Fourth on 208 is Australian Tony Carolan, also with 71, while the best placed British player is Welshman Mark Pilkington in joint fifth on 209, also after a 71.

Stenson had seven birdies in his 66 and is well placed to secure his maiden Challenge Tour victory. “I have just been trying to play easy and that’s what I’ll do again tomorrow,” he said.

“The key today was to keep the ball in play, which I did, hitting most fairways. I wasn’t in any trouble and I made a lot of long putts.”

Rystrom, who went into the round two clear, lost his way after an errant six-iron at the 14th. “My swing broke down at the 14th,” he said. “I hit it so far left and after that I got scared with all my irons.

“At the start I was playing beautifully then it went crazy. Nut the good thing is that I know what I am doing wrong.”

Erlandsson also finished complaining of poor shots. “I just hit it bad today,” he said. “There were many poor shots but my putting saved me.”

Carolan was equally annoyed. “I got to 11 under at one stage but then I lost my momentum and never got my game back,” he said.

Yet another Swede, Paul Nilbrink is among a trio on 209 along with Welshman Mark Pilkington, the best placed British player, and Carlos Larrain of Venezuela. Another Welshman, Garry Houston, joint fourth overnight, crashed to a 77 for 215 and plummeted to joint 37th place.

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