News All Articles
Adrian Otaegui shares halfway lead as he bids to make successful title defence

Adrian Otaegui shares halfway lead as he bids to make successful title defence

Defending champion Adrian Otaegui held a share of the lead at the halfway stage of the 2023 Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucía Masters after finishing his second-round 69 with a flourish to remain bogey-free for the week.

Starting the day two shots off the lead after kicking off the week with a flawless 66, home favourite Otaegui opened his second round with a tap-in birdie but had to wait patiently for his next one after making 14 straight pars.

The four-time DP World Tour winner missed a series of birdie opportunities during that run but he made no mistake from 20 feet on the 16th green before making it two in a row at the 17th to join early clubhouse leaders Louis de Jager and Jeong weon Ko on nine under par.

He had an outside chance to complete his birdie hat-trick and take the outright lead on the 18th but instead settled for a two-putt par and a clean card.

Frenchman Ko had to return to the course on Friday morning to complete his first round, birdieing the last to sign for a spotless 67 before coming back soon after to card a second-round 68 which contained five birdies and one bogey.

Ko's fellow morning starter De Jager had set the early target after making six birdies and a solitary bogey in his 67.

The trio were one shot ahead of New Zealand's Daniel Hillier, who followed up his first-round 70 with a 66.

Otaegui, who secured a spectacular six-shot victory at nearby Real Club Valderrama 12 months ago to win this title, was pleased with his day's work.

He said: "I'm happy with my day, I'm happy with the way I played.

"I really enjoyed it, I really felt very confident from tee to green.

"I gave myself lots of birdie chances but not from very close. I hit some good putts - didn't hole many, but I'm happy that I holed a couple on the 16th and 17th. Very happy overall."

Otaegui was pleased he managed to keep the bogeys off his card over the first 36 holes, adding: "I'm proud!

"I think I played very solid from tee to green, didn't put myself in too much trouble over the last two days.

"I thought at the beginning of the round (the wind) was pumping quite strong so it's obviously easy to make a silly mistake or a bogey so that's a good thing as well."

Reflecting on the opening two days, Ko - who sits 130th on the Race to Dubai Rankings in partnership with Rolex - said: "It was tough, a lot of wind. There was a lot of course management, I talked a lot with my caddie.

"I think we've produced some very good shots in the right places. The putting was helping me, the short game was good as well. Really solid round, I think."

De Jager said: "It was a bit easier today, especially that front nine. The front nine was just a little breeze so I took advantage of that and then I just held on during the back nine, it’s what you have to do."

Read next