Michael Lorenzo-Vera continued his outstanding form at the Oceanico Developments Pro-Am Challenge where a second round of four under par 66 gave him a 13 under 127 aggregate and a two stroke lead from England’s Ross McGowan at the halfway stage.
Lorenzo-Vera’s first round 61, a course record for the 6791 yard, par 70 Marriot Worsley Park Hotel and Country Club, came under threat in the second round with some outstanding golf from McGowan, who ended the day with a 63, and Argentina’s Julio Zapata, who posted an eight under 62 to move to third place on ten under 130.
After his sublime form on the greens during his opening 61, Lorenzo-Vera found his putter a little cold during the first nine holes of his second round, but he got back on track with five birdies on his back nine to stay at the top of the leaderboard.
“The putting was okay today,” said Lorenzo-Vera. “On the front nine I kept leaving everything short but I started to try and make a longer stroke and after that they started rolling better and dropping.
“I’m very happy with my score – that is the best halfway total I have ever recorded so I just have to try and continue this over the weekend because I am driving the ball and putting well. I need to improve my posture over the iron shots but we will see what happens.
“I like this course a lot. It suits my game because I play with a naturally fade and a lot of the shots on this course require a fade.
“My game is good and I am getting used to the Challenge Tour. I turned pro a couple of year s ago and played three Challenge Tour events. My best finish was at the Open des Volcans in France where I finished second, which gave me a lot of belief that I could compete out here.”
Like Lorenzo Vera, McGowan had a day of two halves. Starting on the tenth tee, the Englishman gave himself myriad chances but failed to convert before he exploded into action on the front nine with six consecutive birdies between the third and eighth holes.
“It started off pretty boring really – I was giving myself a lot of chances but not holing anything,” said McGowan.
“I was just one under for 11 holes and then I hit it close at the third and all of a sudden I made six birdies in a row.
“I’m not sure that I have ever done that before. I have had four or five before but not six. It could have been seven actually but I lipped out on the ninth from ten feet but I am happy overall.
“I have been playing well for the last few weeks but just hadn’t been patient enough really but this week I have managed to stay patient and I am getting the rewards.”
With such low rounds being scored at the Marriott Worsley Park Hotel and Country Club it is not inconceivable that any one of the 62 players who made the two under par cut mark could still win in Manchester.
As the tournament title suggest, the Oceanico Developments Pro-Am Challenge switches to a Pro-Am format for the last two rounds, with each of the 61 professionals, along with amateur David Horsey, being paired with an Amateur partner for the final 36 holes of the £100,000 event.