- Italian Open, Round Two
Bland sneaks into the lead after late flurry
Englishman Richard Bland birdied four of the last five holes of his second round to take the lead at the Italian Open on Friday.
Bland, still looking to secure his tour card for next season, made a big step in the right direction in that regard at Royal Park I Roveri - as a round of 66 leapfrogged him to the top of the leaderboard at 12-under, thanks in part to three successive closing birdies.
It was the last, at the par-five 18th, that handed him the lead on his own - one shot ahead of Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, Gregory Bourdy, Garth Mulroy and Scotland's Marc Warren.
Bourdy was the pick of the bunch on Friday, carding a score of 64 to rise through the ranks ahead of the final 36 holes of the tournament.
"This morning it was perfect conditions to play on this course," the Frenchman said. "It was a lovely round and I enjoyed it a lot. I was very solid and I'm very proud. Almost everything went right today. Last week my driving was wonderful and so were my irons, and that continued today.
"I'll try to the same at the weekend. Of course, I have to take it shot by shot, but I feel confident and calm and I'm going to try to make as many birdies as I did today."
Another Englishman, Richard McEvoy, is well placed at ten-under - while Sam Little is among seven players three shots back at nine-under.
With the Ryder Cup on the horizon there was more encouraging news for Jose Maria Olazabal - who made the cut himself after a second successive round of 70.
Martin Kaymer fired a round of 66 to move into the hunt at eight-under for the tournament, one clear of European team-mate Francesco Molinari (69). Nicolas Colsaerts looking in danger of missing the cut after an opening round 71, but a carefully-compiled second round 67 elevated him to six-under and gave him confidence with half the tournament still to play.
Elsewhere, there was good news for Jorge Campillo - as the Spaniard fired a hole-in-one at the par-three 15th to win a car from the tournament's title sponsor BMW. Campillo shot a round of 68 as a result of his ace - achieved with a four-iron from 204 yards - as he moved to six-under heading into the weekend.