Friday, 19 March 2010

Argentina’s Rafael Echenique continued his domination of the Telia Challenge Waxholm with a second round of five under par 68 that took gave him a 13 under par 206, three shots clear of Welshman Kyron Sullivan and four ahead of Chile’s Felipe Aguilar.

Echenique took control of the tournament with a superb course record 65 in the opening round, and he continued his low scoring exploits on day two to open up a comfortable lead over Sullivan, who carded a second round 67.

The 25 year old looked to be playing well within himself as he reached the turn in two under par 35, but then the players were taken off the course as the second round was suspended to due a thunderstorm.

Far from being disrupted by the 55 minute break in play, Echenique re-emerged on the golf course to unleash three birdies in four holes between the tenth and the 13th to stretch his lead.

A bogey on the 16th was cancelled out by a birdie four on the par five 17th, leaving Echenique with an inward half of 33 to complete his 68.

He said: I played very well again today. I might not have made as many putts as I did yesterday but I am putting well and striking the ball well, and the key for me today were the three birdies on the tenth, 11th and 12th, because I really relaxed after that.

“I feel comfortable on this course – I just hope that I can stay that way for the next two rounds. There is a long way to go, and for me, the most important thing will be staying focused on playing the golf course and not allowing any of the players around me to have an effect.

“I’m looking forward to playing with Felipe and Kyron in the last group tomorrow. I know both of them well so we will have a relaxing day and hope we can all play well.”

Sullivan is remarkably calm for a man who has narrowly missed out on a place on Tour via the Challenge Tour Rankings for the past two consecutive seasons.

As the season reached its final stage, Sullivan, currently 11th on the Rankings, is once more in the precarious position of potentially losing out on a chance to join The European Tour for the third year in a row, but he refuses to even entertain a single negative thought when looking at his position.

“It’s all in my hands as far as I am concerned,” said Sullivan. “It’s all there for me to do well or mess up, but I’m not even thinking about it. All I know is that I am playing well at a good time of the season to do so, and if I can have a couple more really good finishes before the end of the season then I will get my card this year.”

Aguilar carded a second round 67 to move into third position behind Echenique and Sullivan, whole Jan Are Larsen of Norway, Finalnd’s Roope Kakko and Mads Vibe-Hastrup of Denmark share fourth spot on eight under par. 

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