Friday, 21 July 2006

Spain’s Rafael Cabrera Bello holds a three stroke lead over England’s Jamie Elson going into the weekend of the MAN NÖ Open at Adamstal Golf Club in Austria after following his spectacular opening 61 with two under par 68.

Cabrera Bello lies at 11 under par 129 as he chases his first title since joining the professional ranks last December. The 22 year old, tied fourth in the 2002 Canarias Open de España on The European Tour as a 17 year old, leads former Walker Cup player Elson, who shot a 69.

Home favourite Clemens Prader of Austria, hoping to emulate compatriot Markus Brier’s win in last month’s BA-CA Golf Open presented by Telekom Austria, shot an equal best of the day 64 to lie in a share of third place on seven under par 133. He was joined by Frenchman Jean Marc de Polo, who also shot 64, his compatriot Julien Foret (65) and Scotland’s David Drysdale (68).

Whilst Cabrera Bello was unable to reach the same heights of the first round, he was pleased to follow such a low score with another sub-par round. “It is more difficult to play after shooting 61 in the first round as you expect every shot to go in,” he said. “My goal was to play under par and I am glad I achieved that.

“I feel confident,” he added. “I have played well for two days in a row and only hit two bad drives this week which gives you confidence. Plus I am putting well. Yesterday it was spectacular and while I realise I am not going to putt like that for the rest of my life it was still a good day. Then fast greens help me make a smooth putting stroke.”

A couple of wayward drives, one on the 18th where he hooked his ball out of bounds on the left on his way to a double bogey, brought him back to earth but he finished strongly with birdies from within five feet on the last two holes, the par threes on eight and nine, to put himself in a commanding position.

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