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Jordan Smith shares halfway lead in Portugal after fine finish

Jordan Smith shares halfway lead in Portugal after fine finish

Jordan Smith finished his second round with a flourish to remain on top of the 2022 Portugal Masters leaderboard at the halfway stage, with Gavin Green joining him at the summit after another day of low scoring in Vilamoura.


Englishman Smith started the day with a one-shot lead following Thursday's sparkling 62 but found himself trailing Green with two holes left to play on Friday, having mixed four birdies with two bogeys in his first 16 holes.

However, Smith got up and down for a birdie on the long 17th before holing his 21-foot putt from the rough around the 18th green to pick up another shot, sign for a second-round 67 and join Green in the clubhouse on 13 under par.

Malaysia's Green, who began his round ten minutes before Smith on Friday morning, made seven birdies and a single bogey in his 65.

Finn Tapio Pulkkanen and Frenchman Benjamin Hebert were one shot back in a tie for third after they both followed up opening 66s with matching 64s to remain bogey-free after 36 holes at Dom Pedro Victoria Golf Course.

Hebert started the week 179th on the DP World Tour Rankings in Partnership with Rolex, knowing he needed to do something special to keep his playing privileges, and he has put himself in a decent position to contend for the title over the weekend.

Smith came close to holing his approach shot for an eagle at the par-four second but had to settle for a tap-in birdie there before giving the shot straight back on the third.

The 29-year-old picked up his second birdie of the day at the fifth courtesy of a six-foot putt before parring his way to the turn.

He began the back nine with birdies from inside five feet at the tenth and 12th but dropped another shot on the 14th after failing to find the green in two.

Having pulled off an important par save from five feet at the 16th, Smith finished with back-to-back birdies to join Green at the top.

Smith, who revealed on Thursday he has been suffering with illness this week, said: "It’s always tough following a round like that yesterday. 

"I felt like I hit it just as good, just missed a couple more greens and didn't quite putt as well, but I was happy with the way I finished there.

"I woke up this morning and felt pretty good. Then I got to the course, did my practice and it (illness) came over me again. I’m all bunged up. 

"I’ll just go and chill out, relax and get plenty of fluids in me."

Green flew out of the traps on Friday, picking up a shot from close range at the first before holing lengthy birdie putts on the fourth, fifth and seventh.

After dropping a shot on the ninth, Green made birdies at the 12th, 15th and 17th to head into the weekend on 13 under.

Green is searching for his maiden DP World Tour win, having already done enough to secure his card for next year.

He said: "I think today was a little tighter, all around. Yesterday we had a few soft bogeys with wedges and short irons. 

"Today we had one soft bogey. Other than that everything else was a little tighter. We just kept playing, kept hitting it in the fairway, driving it well. 

"Hitting it long enough past most of the trouble and we’re in the fairway, so it changes a lot of things and helps out. 

"It’s nice because from where I was a year ago and to be in this position again, we’re just enjoying it."

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