Larrazabal ends topsy-turvy day ahead as Valderrama bites back


Pablo Larrazabal ended Friday in the lead of the Open de Espana, after Valderrama bared its teeth on a testing day for the field.

Blustery conditions as well as the testing course resulted in a day of high scoring, with just two players in the 140-strong field - Mike Lorenzo-Vera and Peter Hanson - managing scores below par.

As a result the cut was set at a generous nine over, with forecast rain for Saturday likely to cause further trepidation among the players.

Larrazabal initially looked to have tamed the course as he picked up four shots in his first 10 holes.

But a bogey at the second before a triple-bogey six at three, after taking two attempts to exit the bunker, dropped him back to level par for the day and three under for the tournament, two shots clear of the chasing pack. 

"To shoot level in these conditions is a great feeling and to have a chance on the last to go into the red figures is something really special," he said. "I said to my playing partners that I only missed one shot today really bad, and I made triple bogey."

As Larrazabal parred home, he was two shots off the overnight pace set by Alexander Levy, but the Frenchman shot five over to drop to a tie for third with Alejandro Canizares and James Morrison.

The only other player in the field below par is Andrew Johnston, who combined three birdies with four bogeys and a double, although his round of four under on Thursday kept him in the frame.

Lorenzo-Vera leapt 30 places up the leaderboard, shooting six birdies but dropping another five shots along the way, while Hanson was an even greater mover, vaulting to a tie for 14th from 63rd.

Tournament host Sergio Garcia joins Hanson and three others on three over, while Roope Kakko produced a hole-in-one at 12, but ended the day seven over after two doubles and five further bogeys took the gloss off.