England’s Lee S James, and the Spanish duo of Augustin Domingo and Juan Parron, stole a march on the thunderstorms that wreaked havoc upon the second round of the Open Mahou de Madrid to occupy the top three spots on the leaderboard at the Club de Golf La Herreria.
James, the 2002 Challenge Tour Number One, posted a second round of six under par 65 to move to 11 under par 131 and take a one stroke lead from Domingo and Parron by one stroke going into the weekend.
All three players were fortunate to get to the clubhouse before a swirling thunderstorm halted the second round twice in the space of three hours.
James put on an excellent display of iron play. With just one of his six birdies coming as a result of a long putt. The rest of his gains were largely in part to his accuracy off the fairways, for which he gave great credit to his coach, Gary Packer.
“I had missed two cuts in a row for the last two weeks so I took the extra time I had last week to go and see Gary and working closely with him has really helped. I was getting the club too far behind me in my backswing but he has helped me to correct that and I am striking it a lot better.
“Gary should be able to tell where I am going wrong – he has been coaching me for 21 years so if he doesn’t know my swing by now then we’re in trouble!”
Domingo, the nephew of former European Tour player Domingo Hospital, is riding high on a wave of confidence after his recent tournament success on the Alps Tour, one of Europe’s four Satellite Tours. The Spaniard has taken that winning form up a level to the Challenge Tour this week, and his second round 66 left him right in contention at the halfway stage.
“I am happy to be in this position. There is a lot of pressure in these situations but you have to work with it and use it for your benefit. When I won on the Alps Tour in Switzerland I led from start to finish, so I have experienced a lot of pressure lately.”
Parron was delighted to follow his opening 64 with a three under 68 to move alongside Domingo on ten under par, one behind James. The 23 year old has led after the first round of the last two Challenge Tour events, but had been annoyed by his apparent inability to consolidate his excellent opening scores with solid second rounds.
He managed to do just that at the Club de Golf La Herreria and was delighted to have maintained his level of performance over two rounds.
“I am very happy – I wanted to go out and play well and enjoy the second round so that I could still be in a good position at the end of the day and I managed to do that.”
With the three leaders in the clubhouse, the thunderstorms arrived to leave twice force the Tournament Officials to suspend play. Spain’s Diego Borrego was among the leaders affected by the interruption, but he used all of his European Tour experience to eventually finish strongly, posting a second round 65 to join Panu Kylliänen of Finland on nine under par.
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