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Paul Waring and Stephen Gallacher tied at the top as Jon Rahm chases

Paul Waring and Stephen Gallacher tied at the top as Jon Rahm chases

England's Paul Waring and Scotsman Stephen Gallacher share the halfway lead at the 2022 acciona Open de España presented by Madrid.

Paul Waring

Waring had been at the top of the pile on his own for most of Friday after matching the low round of the week - a sizzling eight-under-par 63 with 10 birdies and two bogeys.

But Gallacher joined him on 12 under after a second straight 65, which included seven birdies and just the one dropped shot.

Gallacher's fellow Scot David Drysdale is one shot behind alongside South African Hennie Du Plessis after they both went round in 66, while Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Darius van Driel (two of the three overnight co-leaders), Jon Rahm, Min Woo Lee and Matthieu Pavon are on ten under.

Waring posted birdies at his first three holes with the pick of the bunch a 30-footer dropping at the third.

A wayward drive, missing left, cost him a shot at the fifth but he was on a quick climb up the leaderboard after another three-hole birdie blitz from the eighth.

Another big miss left off the tee led to his second bogey of the day, at the 13th, but his response was immediate with four birdies on the bounce from the next hole after putts from 15 feet, six feet, 12 feet and 28 feet found their mark.

Stephen Gallacher

He parred the last to set the early mark at Club de Campo Villa de Madrid and for most of the day it looked like it would be good enough for a solo lead.

He said: "I hit some alright shots. I actually got the putter quite hot which is not like me at all really, so it was nice to hole a few long ones coming in and keep that momentum I had going during the round, so happy with that finish definitely.

"I really enjoy this golf course, it suits me. I am staying aggressive with driver and it's giving me a lot of chances with wedges, which is one of the strong parts of my game. So it's giving me chances and then I capitalised with the putter which is ideal.

"I have had three weeks out sat on the couch, which is a bit annoying but never mind, it is nice to be back out here. I didn’t do an awful lot in those three weeks but the golf game feels in good shape, and it is nice to be out in the sunshine, (with) great people, great food, great wine and a nice golf course."

Gallacher's day got off to a bad start at the tenth but he made up for his opening bogey with birdies at the 12th, 14th and 16th, holing putts with a combined length of 45 feet.

He birdied the second and third, had another two in a row at six and seven to join Waring, then negotiated a tricky up and down from behind the eighth green to stay there. He had a look at the outright lead with a birdie putt on nine but shaved the left edge of the hole.

He said: "I played pretty good the week before going into the Dunhill and then I worked hard with my coach and just found something at the Dunhill, where I played well in practice and all the way through. And I carried it on here, playing well in the pro-am and then for the first two days as well.

"You are always working to improve and we just worked on my backswing. It's also been a different way of thinking as I've been working with my psychologist as well, just freeing myself up and just swinging at it.

Jon Rahm

"Halfway, you've done not a bad job and now you need to do the same again. You've got some great players playing.

"The weather has been perfect, and the course is in unbelievable condition, so you can shoot a low score. We’ll just see what happens. If I can play the same over the weekend, who knows."

Rahm, looking to match Seve Ballesteros and win his national Open for a third time, came to life on the back nine after a slow start and shot a 68 that included three bogeys.

But he was close to an eagle at 14, settling for birdie, and just missed a shortish putt at the last that would have taken him to within a shot of Waring and Gallacher.

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