Friday, 19 March 2010

Welshman Rhys Davies surged into a share of the lead in the Fred Olsen Challenge de España as he looks to win his second Challenge Tour title of the season.

Davies fired a brilliant six under par 65 at Tecina Golf on the spectacular island of La Gomera in the Canary Islands to draw level with halfway leader Steven Jeppesen on 13 under par.

A second victory for the Welshman after his previous success in the SWALEC Wales Challenge earlier in the summer would consolidate his position on the Challenge Tour Rankings as he strives to join the elite on The European Tour.

Five birdies in the space of seven holes on the front nine got him moving and two more followed on the back half before he bogeyed the last to tie Jeppesen.

 “It was a good day,” said Davies. “I got off to a good start making two birdies when it didn't look like I was making them, then I made three birdies in a row that gave me lots of confidence.

“I played a lot better today, hit some solid shots and holed key putts. I put the ball in the right places which is very important because the greens can be very tricky.”

As for his chances in the final round, he said: “I'd love to win again. It's still a long way to go and there are a few players out there, but I will put my head down and definitely I'm looking forward competing again at the top of the board.”

Jeppeson endured a rollercoaster of a round with an eagle, two birdies and five bogeys on his way to a one over 72 but it was good enough to keep him in a share of the lead.

The 25 year old has finished runner-up four times on the Challenge Tour and is looking to finally shed his bridesmaid tag.

“It was tough out there today, putting was not as good as the other days,” admitted the Swede. “I was not playing well so I tried to think of what I had worked with coaches and played more conservative.

“Now everybody is very closely bunched so tomorrow will be important a good start. Tomorrow it will all depend on the wind, and it will be important to make a good start."

The Spanish pair of Luis Claverie and Jesus Maria Arruti are both well placed to challenge for a home victory as they lie in the group on 12 under par and only one behind the leaders. Claverie matched Davies’ round of 65 while Arruti shot a 71 after double bogeying the last. Welshman Stuart Manley and Dane Mark F Haastrup are also on 12 under par.

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Tournament Leaderboard

PosPlayer NameNatHolePar
1DAVIES, RhysWAL18-17
2JEPPESEN, StevenSWE18-16
T3ORIOL, PedroESP18-15
T3CLAVERIE, LuisESP18-15
T5RUSSO, Charles-EdouardFRA18-14
T5DAVIS, StuartENG18-14
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