A sensational nine under par 62 gave Sweden’s Joel Sjöholm a commanding four-shot lead at the halfway point of the European Challenge Tour’s Fred Olsen Challenge de España.
The Swede had cruised to the turn in five under par to move to within one shot of the lead on Friday afternoon before an explosive finish of an eagle and two birdies in his closing four holes saw him surge clear of a congested leaderboard.
Sjöholm was already playing beautifully when his perfect sand wedge from 110 yards found the bottom of the cup on the par four 15th of Tecina Golf in La Gomera on the Canary Islands to ignite that blistering finish.
Birdie putts from four and 12 feet on the 17th and 18th then turned a great day into an unforgettable one.
“It was a really fun day, I played great on the front nine and then the putter went a little cold at the start of the back nine,” said Sjöholm.
“I hit a sand wedge from 110 yards in on the 15th that got me going on and I was then thinking I could get into the clubhouse with a great lead if I could make another birdie or two and I managed to do that on 17 and 18.
“It is always tough to repeat a round like this but I think I can do well during the weekend.”
Sjöholm is a man on a mission to return to The European Tour as quickly as possible having lost his playing privileges last season.
“I am trying to get back to the European Tour, I think I have the capability to be there, but when things don’t go well it is a relief to go back to the Challenge Tour, look myself in the mirror and fix the things I need to go back to the European Tour.”
Respective rounds of 65 and 67 were good enough to see Welshman Rhys Enoch and Italy’s Matteo Delpodio move into a ties for second place on nine under.
Enoch said: “It would have been nice to finish the round with a birdie but I am not going to complain about it. I played really well, even with the bogeys on 12 and 13 I didn’t so much wrong – this is a tricky golf course.
“This is my first time here and it is just stunning. To stand on every tee and see the ocean is an amazing feeling.”
Delpodio said: “I have played two good rounds so far and I think the course is great because it fits my game.
“Today my game was good, not too many highlights but I put the ball in play from the tee well and made a great start. I made a silly mistake on the eighth from the palm tree for bogey but overall I played solid golf.”