Tight at the top in Colombia

3/9/2012 8:55:18 PM
Espen Kofstad   (Getty Images)
Espen Kofstad (Getty Images)

It was tight at the top of the leaderboard midway through the second round of the Pacific Rubiales Colombia Classic as three players held the clubhouse lead set at three under par, with overnight joint leader Daniel Brooks joined by Chris Hanson, Espen Kofstad and Sebastian L Saavedra.

Nick Dougherty, meanwhile, continued his return to form as he joined them at the top having played the first 12 holes in two under par, moving him to three under for the tournament.

Brooks carded a one over par 73 to add to his four under par opening round of 68 while the other overnight leader, local favourite Manuel Villegas signed for a two over par second round of 74 to drop one shot back in tied sixth.

His compatriot Jesus Rivas was also on two under after a second successive round of 71, joining Tyrrell Hatton, José-Filipe Lima and Villegas in tied sixth, while Philip Archer also joined the chasing pack as he was one under through 12 holes.

Kofstad, who finished 27th in the Challenge Tour rankings last year, was happy with his lot as he recovered from bogeys at the 10th, his first hole, and 14th to sign for birdies at the 15th, 18th and seventh and join the top of the pile.

“It’s tough out there,” said the Norwegian, “I feel like the wind wasn’t quite as strong in the morning but it’s hard. I keep aiming outside of the greens to try and hit the centre.

“I’m just trying to let the par fives to do the jobs to be honest, try and get it close to the green and pitch it on and try and make the putt and the rest of the holes, try and make par.

“It’s hard to get inside 15 feel so you have to make the pars easy. I had a tough start, I kept lipping out but my putting feels good so I kept going and made a couple.

“I'm happy with where I am going into the weekend, just more of the same now - no need to do anything differently as it seems to be working. It’s difficult to attack, the par fives are the only chances you have because if you get it in play, they’re quite short so you can get a great shot in and two putt for birdie.

Hanson, meanwhile, has made a solid start to his first season on the Challenge Tour, having won the EuroPro Tour last year and he shot what was the joint best score of the day with a three under par 69, thanks to five birdies and two bogeys.

“I just putted solidly today,” said the 26 year old, “I saved myself a few times from six or eight, so I putted well and controlled my ball really well. I feel really comfortable on the greens, it’s all new territory for me getting away from England so I’ve found it good.

“I played pretty similar to yesterday, a couple of loose shots yesterday but today I managed to save any loose shots.

“This is my first full season on the Challenge Tour. The travelling is a totally new ballgame to me, you have some long journeys but if you try and enjoy them as much as you can it will stand you in good stead."

Saavandra of Argentina had an extremely steady round, with just a single bogey, at the second, complemented by one birdie at the 15th hole.

Nick Dougherty joined the leaders later in the day as he reached the 12th hole with the impressive statistic of not having bogeyed a hole all day, his birdies at the sixth and twelfth elevating him to three under after a one under par opening round of 71.