Friday, 06 July 2007

Michael Lorenzo-Vera saw his grip on the A.G.F. Allianz Open des Volcans – Challenge de France prised loose by a double bogey seven after he threatened to take a commanding lead into the third round of the Challenge Tour event at Golf des Volcans.

The 22 year old Frenchman from Biarritz was in cruise control at six under par standing on the tee at the 585 yard 15th, but spilled two strokes to the card and had to settle for a level par 71 and a one shot lead over New Zealand’s Gareth Paddison.

Paddison, 26, from Wellington, was a model of consistency in racking up 16 pars and back to back birdies at the 15th and 16th – the latter hole providing a three shot swing between the two leaders – for a round of 69 and a three under par total of 139.

Lorenzo-Vera, who finished on 138, four under par, and Paddison were the only players to finish another difficult day under par as the cut soared to seven over par – the second highest of the season on the Challenge Tour.

After finishing sixth, fourth and second in recent weeks, Lorenzo-Vera is still on course for his first Challenge Tour victory and the winner’s cheque which would move him close to the top of the Rankings.

However he faces stiff opposition from Paddison, whose game was in such disarray last November that his rang Madrid-based English coach Jason Floyd to ask for some lessons. The relationship grew and the Kiwi credits his new coach for helping him “turn over a new leaf”.

He said: “I had known Jason, who also coaches the Spaniards, Carl Suneson and Carlos Rodiles, since 2003 and we started working before the Qualifying School at San Roque.  The move is really starting to pay dividends. I am swinging much better and my confidence has grown accordingly.”

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