Welshman Manley keeps Portugal Masters dream alive


AFP

VILAMOURA, Portugal — Welshman Stuart Manley carded a four under par 68 to retain the lead of the Portugal Masters at the halfway stage on Friday. After an impressive opening round 65, Manley’s second round effort at the Oceanico Victoria Golf Course keeps him one shot ahead of Alvaro Quiros of Spain, who shot a 68. Magnus A Carlsson of Sweden and Scotland’s Paul Lawrie shot a 66 and 65 respectively to place themselves a stroke further back on nine under. Manley had led overnight after an opening 65 in which he played his back nine in five under par. And a shining second half of his round, boosted by an eagle at the par five g12th and birdies at the 15th and 16th, has boosted his morale. “I played pretty good today,” said Manley, who is currently 174th on The Order of Merit and needs a solid result here to boost his chances of avoiding Qualifying School. “I didn’t quite make as many putts as yesterday (Thursday), but I would definitely have taken 68 at start of the day so I’m delighted. “To be honest, I played pretty good all year, but just not taking it into tournament golf.”

Manley has never been in contention for a Tour title before and could be pushed hard by Quiros, among others. Carlsson also gave a hint of his potential. The Swede said: “This week, I’ve been hitting the ball very good off the tee and good iron shots. Today is not as hot as yesterday but it’s really good. I wish we had more tournaments this time of the year down here.” Lawrie joined Carlsson on nine under after a bogey free seven under par round of 65. “I’ve been playing good for a while,” said the Scot. “But I holed a few putts today which helped. The wind is up a bit and the course is much tougher than yesterday. I played solid, so it wasn’t too difficult today.” French pair Jean-Francois Lucquin and Gregory Bourdy, Chile’s Felipe Aguilar, Jyoti Randhawa of India and Sweden’s Robert Karlsson are all one shot further back on eight under.