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Easton surges clear on Mallorca

Easton surges clear on Mallorca

Bryce Easton opened up a four shot lead with one hole to play before fading light brought an end to a windy day two at the 2021 Mallorca Golf Open.

Bryce Easton

The South African had entered round two a shot off the lead and with testing conditions greeting the early starters, he was still in that position when he teed off in the final group of the day.

The wind made scoring at Golf Santa Ponsa tough in the afternoon too but the 34-year-old made five birdies and a single bogey to get to 11 under before darkness brought the players off with one hole to complete.

Home favourites Jorge Campillo, Sebastian Garcia Rodriguez and Alvaro Quiros were in the clubhouse at seven under, as was Danish 18 hole leader Jeff Winther.

Easton has never held full playing privileges on the European Tour but a career best finish of 22nd on the European Challenge Tour Rankings in 2019 meant he was able to secure two top tens from 19 starts in 2020.

He has two more top tens on the Race to Dubai in 2021 but is battling for a card at 195th on the Rankings in Partnership with Rolex, although a victory to go with his three Sunshine Tour wins will end those concerns.

"Lovely day, made it look a bit more difficult for myself on the back nine, had to grind out a few par saves," he said.

"I played the front nine lovely, managed to hang in.

"Tough coming in at the end there. Obviously getting dark. Overall, very happy with how today went, happy with where I am.

"There were a lot of cross winds that were - is it helping a fraction or hurting a fraction? - it's one of those where you just don't quite know. Small greens, small targets, so it's definitely a factor. It was a tricky day."

Overall, very happy with how today went, happy with where I am

Quiros birdied his first hole of the day at the tenth and added another on the first to share the lead before he dropped a shot on the fourth.

He bounced back with a gain on the next but a bogey on the ninth meant he signed for a 69 and overnight leader Winther was still one shot in front when the morning wave finished.

The 33-year-old extended his lead to two with a ten footer on the 13th but found trouble off the tee at the 16th and a triple bogey dropped him down to six under.

That was soon three shots off the lead as Easton made back-to-back birdies on the fourth and fifth.

Winther then birdied the 17th and 18th to turn in level par and get back to just one back but he dropped a shot on the second and when Easton holed from 18 feet at the tenth, the lead was back to three shots.

Campillo was the man to trim it as a bogey on the first and a birdie on the third was followed by a tee shot to 15 feet at the seventh.

An even better iron to five feet at the 13th then moved him to eight under and made him the nearest challenger but he gave the shot straight back on the next.

The group at seven under was growing but it was soon four back as Easton sandwiched tricky putts for par on the 11th and 13th with a smart tee shot to 12 feet on the 12th.

A three putt from just off the green at the 14th brought a first bogey of the day but he birdied the 16th to re-establish his four shot cushion before the light closed in.

Winther dropped another shot on the fourth but regained it on the eighth to sign for a 71, while Campillo parred his way home in a 69.

Garcia Rodriguez turned in level par with birdies on the third and seventh sandwiched by bogeys on the first and eighth. His putter then got hot on the back nine and he holed from 20 feet at the 13th and 14th and 25 feet at the 17th to sign for a 67.

England's Richard Mansell carded the lowest round of the day with a 64 to sit at six under alongside countryman Laurie Canter, Canadian Aaron Cockerill, Frenchman Jean-Baptiste Gonnet, German Matti Schmid and Swede Sebastian Soderberg.

Another Swede in Niklas Lemke was also at six under with one to play.

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