Spain’s Manuel Quiros produced a stunning back nine of 29 to move into the lead at the halfway stage of the European Challenge Tour’s Morson International Pro-Am Challenge, establishing a one stroke advantage from Englishman Daniel Greenwood and Andres Romero of Argentina.
Quiros’s brilliant back nine helped him to card a best of the day 64 (six under par), and left him with a two round aggregate of seven under par 133, with Greenwood and Romero a shot behind, followed by Welshman Sion Bebb, South African Michiel Bothma, England’s David Dixon, Scotland’s Greig Hutcheon and Inder Van Weerelt of the Netherlands tied together on four under.
It looked to be a fairly nondescript day for Quiros as he went to the turn in level par 35 with two birdies and a double bogey on his card, but he soon exploded into action as he headed back to the clubhouse, peppering pins and nailing putts all over the back nine to come back in 29 and shoot himself to the top of the leaderboard.
“That is the first time in my career that I have had 29 for nine holes and it feels good,” smiled Quiros. “I shot six under for the back nine at Garda Golf last month but that was a par 36 so it feels good to break 30.
“It was all about the putting today for me. I didn’t drive the ball all that well, but my approaches to the greens and my putting was very good and I now hope that I can start to make some good scores now because I have been playing well this year but just not scoring well.
“This is my first year on the Challenge Tour and it has been difficult to get used to the life out here, but I am starting to do that. I have been enjoying the whole season, but I do think that it takes a little of time to get used to the courses and different conditions every week – I am not that used to playing in the wind and rain!
“Hopefully this can be the week that I start to put the scores together, because I have been hitting the ball well all year.”
Greenwood and Romero shot 68 and 65 respectively to move into a tie for second, the Argentine putting together a solid five birdies and 13 pars, while the Englishman had a more eventful second round.
Starting on the back nine, Greenwood ‘turned’ in three under par 32 before being stopped in his tracks by a triple bogey seven at the first, caused by a terrible bunker shot. He recovered well, though, getting two shots back at the fourth and fifth to join Romero in a share for second place.
“It was a good day, with just one bad shot really,” said Greenwood. “I started really well and got to four under on the back nine but dropped one on the 18th. Then the bad shot came on the first. I was in the greenside trap for two and then hit what can only really be described as a thin-shank into a hedge. It wasn’t the best. I had to hack out of the bush and then chipped on and took two putts for a seven, but that was all down to the fact I went into the bunker. I hate bunkers – if golf courses didn’t have any bunkers on them I’d be up there with the best of them. I’m going to have to get myself down get myself down to Cleethorpes beach and get some practice in!”
The tournament now switches to a Pro-Am format, with the 75 remaining professionals who made the two over par cut teaming up with an Amateur partner for the final two rounds.