Stuart Manley and Nathan Kimsey fired rounds of 65 and 68 to share the lead after round two of the Open de Portugal at Royal Óbidos.
In a twist of fate, the pair are also sharing accommodation off the course in Portugal and Welshman Manley, who carded seven birdies to surge up the leaderboard, was pleased with his round and the positive influence on his new housemate.
“Nathan started hanging out with me and Dave Boote a year ago and since then his golf has been great,”, said Manley. “Me and Boote are rubbing off but it’s a shame our golf hasn’t been as good as his.”
“I hit it solid yesterday, but it was quite tough in the afternoon yesterday on the greens, they were very bumpy. This morning once the fog lifted the greens were really good and I made some putts and the confidence grew.”
The 43-year-old is a three time winner on the Challenge Tour and his aspirations remain of reclaiming DP World Tour card, which he last held in 2019.
“In my situation, I am just outside the mark where I am going to keep a full card for next year, so I need a good week for another reason” he said.
“Obviously a win would make me very close to the top 20, that is how close it is on the Challenge Tour, you can make massive jumps. If I finish the season strong there is no reason that I can’t sneak in the top 20 through the back door.”
Englishman Kimsey, who currently sits fourth in the Road to Mallorca rankings, followed up his opening round 69 with a 68 to join Manley at the top. The 29-year-old acknowledged the off the course setup is clearly working and is keen to stay in the moment ahead of the weekend.
“We’ve got a house just down the road a few of us are sharing, I don’t know what’s in the water at the house but it’s obviously working,” he said.
“I’ve always been one to just rock up week to week and just play my best golf day to day. Whatever that looks like at the end of the week, that’s what it is. No sort of aggressive goals to go and finish number one, obviously that would be a great cap on the season.
“The main thing at the moment is trying to go out there the next couple of days and play some good golf again and see where that puts us come Sunday.”
Play was delayed for nearly three hours due to early morning fog in Óbidos, and was suspended at 7:30pm. All the afternoon starters have to complete their second round starting at 8:30 tomorrow with round three not beginning before 11:30am on Saturday.