Elliott Saltman powered his way to a five stroke lead at the Fred Olsen Challenge de España with a brilliant second round 64.
After posting a brilliant first round 63, the big Scotsman put together another bogey free round of five birdies and an eagle to establish a 15 under par halfway total and a five shot advantage over England’s Jamie Little at the stunning Tecina Golf on the island of La Gomera in the Canary Islands.
He said: “My long game felt strong on the range this morning and I went on to the course thinking about staying positive and happy. I wasn’t nervous at all, was swinging really well and I think these are the two best rounds of my career so I’m delighted.
“Golf is a funny game and you can never predict it but I am feeling great. I’m really enjoying playing here in La Gomera as it is a beautiful place and the course is in immaculate condition.”
Little posted a second consecutive round of 66 to stay in touch with the lead on ten under par with 36 holes to play, while Spain’s Alvaro Velasco is a shot back on nine under after a course record equalling 63 propelled him into third spot .
Little was perched atop the leaderboard for much of the afternoon with Saltman starting so late, but it wasn’t long into the Scot’s round that he must have realised he would have a gap to make up in round three.
The 32-year-old Englishman has struggled of late after an injury to his thumb required stitches and required time away from the game.
He said: “I hit it in a door and tried to play with a cast but it didn’t work out too well. My category doesn’t allow me to play much so my goal is just to play well with the opportunities that I have – I will focus on quality rather than quantity.”
Talking of quality, Velasco was in sensational form and, despite a bogey on the 18th that prevented him setting a new course record, he is hoping to become the first home winner of the Fred Olsen Challenge de España since Carl Suneson in 1999.
“There are a lot of birdie chances out there and you have to take advantage of them,” said Velasco.
While Velasco toasted his fine 63, England’s Daniel Denison provided more reason for celebration after a hole in one on the par three eighth.
He said: “I knew it was a good shot, but I didn’t know it had gone in until I got to the green.”
Moving into the weekend Saltman will hope to continue the form that has seen him play so dominantly this week, while the eight Spaniards in the top-22 will be chasing hard in the hope of home soil celebrations come Sunday night.
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