Daniel Vancsik’s flawless seven under par 64 was enough to claim a one shot lead over an all-Latino top five on day two of a low scoring Fred Olsen Challenge de España in La Gomera.
Starting his second round two shots behind overnight leader Martin Rominger, Argentina’s Vancsik put together a superb display of golf at Tecina Golf in a round that featured five birdies and an eagle to take a one shot lead over Spaniard Sebastian Garcia Rodriguez going into the weekend.
Vancsik made regulation birdies at the third, fifth, and seventh holes before holing out from a greenside bunker at the par four ninth to reach the turn in 32 blows, while a great par save from off the green on the 12th preceded a further birdie at the 15th.
It was the 502-yard par five 17th that provided the most dramatic moment of the day, however, as Vancsik almost holed his eight iron approach for albatross before tapping in for an eagle to finish his second round in style, and despite not being overly enamoured with his ball striking the two-time European Tour winner was pleased with his scrambling ability throughout Friday’s second round.
"Yesterday I hit the ball much better, I did not hit the ball so well today but the greens I missed I recovered really well,” said Vancsik. “I am slowly recovering confidence, which is what I need. I changed my coach last November and am now working with German Gali.”
Vancsik, who captured his second European Tour victory in emphatic style when he finished six strokes clear of a strong field at the BMW Italian Open in 2009, is pleased with his progress and realises he on the right track for a return to the top tier of European golf.
He said: “Before coming back to Europe I was hitting the ball very well and even though I have not started well I knew it would come together, I am still working hard. I know I am on the right way to get back to the main Tour, I am getting better with game, experience and patience, knowing that in this sport things do not always come out the way you want."
Spaniard Sebastian Garcia Rodriguez, playing only his fourth Challenge Tour event, is one back from Vancsik after firing a six under par 65 that could have been even better were it not for three bogeys on a quite extraordinary card.
The 23 year old from Madrid made a birdie at the second before holing out from the bunker for an eagle three at the par five third, finding further birdies at the fifth, sixth, seventh, tenth, 12th and 17th holes and will take a one shot lead over a trio of his compatriots in Eduardo de la Riva, Luis Claverie and Sebi Garcia, tied for third place at 11 under par, with 36 holes to play.
“I played much better than yesterday and hit a lot more greens,” said Rodriguez. “I made three silly mistakes but apart from that I played great. I hit some really good drivers and was a bit less solid with the putter but I am playing very well and feeling I am doing the right things on the course. Step by step I am searching what I am looking for. My goal for the week is win the tournament.”
De la Riva, who finished third at The European Tour’s Open de Andalucía Costa del Sol in March, also came flying out of the blocks on the Canary Island with a hat-trick of birdies to start, while a bogey five was the only blemish on an otherwise flawless card as a further five birdies arrived at the sixth, seventh, and 11th holes, plus a pair to finish on the 17th and 18th, and the 29 year old Catalonian credited a change in putter for his impressive best-of-the-day 63.
He said: "I started playing very well yesterday, I am playing really well lately. I've gone back to the regular putter and feeling very comfortable with it. I started with it last week in Belgium and even though I had two bad rounds it was not the putter’s fault.”
Claverie, a former European Tour Member and a native of nearby Tenerife, was the first to finish on 11 under par after beginning the day three shots behind Rominger, but a fast start saw him claim five birdies over the front nine, including a superb putt from 26 feet for birdie at the par three fourth.
The 40 year old dropped shots at the long par three eighth hole and the 12th, after a wayward short iron into the green, but bounced back with three more birdies at the 14th – holing from ten foot after an excellent four iron in – 16th and 17th to finish six under for the day and one shy of fellow countryman Garcia Rodriguez.
"I played well today,” said Claverie. “I played very badly in the Pro-Am but I got the feeling yesterday and it looks like it is working.
“I like the course and I’ve played very well here before so I hope to keep playing like today for the next couple of days. Today I just hit two bad shots but the rest of my game was really good. I think I have a chance this weekend."
Sebi Garcia also looked in sublime touch as he carded a seven under par 64 to sit two off the lead with the weekend to come, making five birdies at the second, third, ninth, 11th and 17th holes plus an eagle at the par five seventh in a blemish-free second round.
Former Challenge Tour Number One Michael Lorenzo-Vera had led proceedings midway through the second round after a five under par 66 to go into the weekend three off the lead alongside overnight leader, Switzerland’s Rominger, who followed his fine first round 63 with a more modest 69 on Friday.