Friday, 07 October 2011
Lee Slattery  (Getty Images)
Lee Slattery (Getty Images)

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England’s Lee Slattery finished with back-to-back birdies to snatch the clubhouse lead from Francesco Molinari at the Bankia Madrid Masters.

The Challenge Tour graduate carded a six under par 66 to reach 11 under in the Spanish capital, his round all the more impressive given the windy conditions at El Encin Golf Hotel.

Ryder Cup star Molinari had carded a five under par 67 with six birdies and a solitary bogey, to be one ahead of compatriot Lorenzo Gagli (70).

England's Ross McGowan, who led overnight after a magnificent eight under 64, carded a level par 72 as the 2009 champion found himself level with Australian Brett Rumford on eight under in the clubhouse.

Francesco’s brother Edoardo and World Number One Luke Donald – the defending champion – were amongst those well placed to mount a challenge during the afternoon session as they resumed six and four under respectively.

Slattery lost his card by only €77 in 2007 and at 136th on The Race to Dubai faces another nervy end to the season.

He carded three birdies before the turn, picked up another shot at the tenth, but then suffered his only bogey of the day at the 12th. 

The 33 year old responded with a magnificent 80 foot birdie putt at the 14th before his strong finish.

"I got off to a good start, I was two under early and just kept it together and had a nice finish, birdied the last two holes,” he said.

“It’s mainly down to putting, I putted very well today, seemed to hole everything. I drove the ball well - on this course you can give it a good smack off the tee and you feel yourself trying to hit it harder and harder. 

“I was actually getting too cautious with my game but round here you can’t be, you just whack it. This suits me because I just enjoy it and don't think too much - that’s the key. I don’t think I’ve ever walked off the course feeling so relaxed.”

The highlight of Molinari’s round came with an approach to five feet at sixth, and the 28 year old was pleased with the quality of his ball striking.

“A good solid round, I’m hitting the ball better than I was this summer,” he said. “Today’s round was trickier than yesterday’s because of the wind. 

“I’m even more pleased today. Five under is a good score in any conditions.”

His brother Edoardo was one under through his first five holes and at seven under the best placed of the afternoon wave midway through the second session.

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
2GAGLI, LorenzoITA18-14
T3DE LA RIVA, EduardoESP18-12
5AIKEN, ThomasRSA18-10
T6HANSON, PeterSWE18-9
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