VILAMOURA, Portugal (AP) — Maarten Lafeber of Netherlands shot a 5-under 67 to take a two-stroke lead after the second round of the Portugal Masters on Friday.
An eagle on the second hole at the Oceanico Victoria club course started Lafeber’s charge up the leaderboard to 13-under 131. Mikko Ilonen of Finland was in second at 11 under after a 68.
Lafeber, whose only previous win in Europe was in the 2003 Dutch Open, would have led by three had he not dropped a shot at the 17th.
“I lost a bit of focus and ended up in the water,” he said. “You have got to be careful out there and not get too greedy. But at the same time you also have to be aggressive because there are so many birdies to be made out there.
“I know that if I don’t make any more and end up on the same score I will probably struggle to finish in the top 10.”
Lafeber, who had a share of the overnight lead after a 64 Thursday, holed a sand wedge from 110 yards out at No. 2 and followed up with a birdie putt on No. 3.
Swedish pair Robert Karlsson and Johan Edfors, who also opened with 64s, found it hard to keep up the pace playing Friday afternoon in a breeze and on greens made bumpy by heavy traffic.
Karlsson managed a 71, dropping him back into a tie for fifth. Edfors had a 72 and was a shot further back among a group of 14 players tied for 11th at 8 under.
Just like in the first round, the morning starters scored lowest on Friday, with Portugal’s Jose Felipe Lima shooting a 64 to grab a share of third place with Raphael Jacquelin of France (67).
Francesco Molinari of Italy, who recently made his European Ryder Cup debut, rebounded from an opening 74, producing 10 birdies for a 62 that was just off the course record of 61 held by Martin Kaymer. Molinari was in the group at 8 under.