Clark Dennis is set to become the first two-time winner of the Senior Italian Open presented by Villaverde Resort as he leads heading into the final day.
In the defence of his first Staysure Tour title, the American shot a five under par round of 67 on the second day at the European Tour Destination venue to overtake overnight leaders Miguel Angel Martin and Rafael Gomez and move into pole position.
Dennis’ back-to-back rounds of 67 hand him a one-shot advantage while Argentinian Gomez and two-time Staysure Tour winner Chris Williams share second after rounds of 69 and 67, respectively.
The 2017 Senior Italian Open presented by Villaverde Resort champion quickly joined the overnight leaders after his birdie on the first. A bogey on the third did not trouble the American’s rhythm as he gained two more shots on the sixth and seventh holes to keep the pressure on Gomez, as Martin dropped back.
An immediate birdie after the turn put Dennis alongside the Argentine, however, he was soon out in front following a gain on the par three 12th while Gomez dropped a shot. The reigning John Jacobs Trophy winner finished his round in style after a bogey on the 14th, as he made back-to-back birdies on the 16th and 17th to take command at the Villaverde Resort at Golf Club Udine.
With blazing sunshine and soaring temperatures set for tomorrow, there is no sign of severe weather to dampen Dennis’ title charge, as he eyes the chance to put his name in the history books and become the first two-time Senior Italian Open champion.
“Tomorrow I have to do the same things that I’ve been doing over the last two days. I can’t think about results, I’ve just got to go out and try and shoot as low a score as I can,” he said. “There is going to be a lot of guys making birdies tomorrow and I can’t backup, I’ve got to be in attack mode and try and make as many birdies as possible.
“The birdies on 16 and 17 were nice. I didn’t hit a good iron shot on 18 but I was able to get up and down from a difficult spot, so lunch tasted sweeter with that finish.
“The course played very similar to yesterday. There isn’t much wind out there. The greens are soft, and you really have to be in attack mode this week because the course is very scorable.
“A win on Father’s Day would make it sweeter. My three boys are at home, my son is playing in the Texas State Amateur after he made the cut, so we’ll both be playing for something tomorrow.”
Two-shots behind Dennis is the 2016 Paris Legends Championship winner Magnus P Atlevi, who carded the round of the day with a bogey-free six under par round of 66, which include six birdies after the turn.
The Swede is one-shot ahead of last year’s runner-up Fowler and overnight co-leader Martin, who share fifth spot on seven under par.
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