NEWS

Ice cool Italian leads the way after Day Two


Lorenzo Gagli holds the outright lead on 12 under par after Day Two of the Turkish Airlines Challenge following a weather-affected afternoon at Gloria Golf Club.

The Road to Ras Al Khaimah Number One posted his second six under par round of 66 of the week as he took to the New Course this morning before the afternoon groups were disrupted by a weather delay of over 90 minutes.

The Italian leads the way on 12 under par while 17 year old South Korean Minkyu Kim and 21 year old Robert MacIntyre are two shots back on 10 under par.

Kim carded nine birdies as he signed for a 64 to soar up the leaderboard and move right into contention ahead of the weekend.

With the afternoon groups out on the course, thunderstorms descended on Gloria Golf Club just after 4.00pm local time and play was suspended with the safety of players, staff and spectators of paramount importance.

They returned to the course at 6.00pm local time as the storms passed and play was able to restart.

However, it was early in the morning when the weather was ideal for low-scoring golf, with clear skies and little wind contributing to several low scores while the day was in its formative stages.

Playing in one of the first groups of the day, Spaniard Marcos Pastor recorded the first hole-in-one of his career on the 185-yard third as he sent a seven iron hurtling towards the hole and subsequently collected a celebratory bottle of champagne after signing for a six under par 66.

In a day of maiden achievements in Turkey, first round co-leader MacIntyre holed out from 173 yards on the par five 18th to register the first albatross of his career which acted as a catalyst for the Scot’s journey into a share of second place at the conclusion of his second round.

But the day belonged to Gagli as the 32 year old signed for a bogey-free 66 to take the outright lead with a two-shot cushion over his closest competitors.

Lorenzo Gagli

 

The Barclays Kenya Open Champion started with aplomb as he raced through the first two holes with consecutive birdies, then a streak of five pars set him up nicely for the final two holes before the turn.

Gagli birdied the par four eighth and achieved the same outcome on the par five ninth – the most birdied hole of the tournament so far.

The Florence native looked to have overcome the shoulder problem which he suffered with during his first round and carefully navigated the first six holes of the back nine with a par at each.

He birdied the par four 16th and then sunk a par at the 17th before making his way to the final hole on the course.

Gagli fittingly reached 12 under par with his 12th birdie of the week to finish his round in style and take the halfway lead, signing for 66.

Despite carding a bogey-free round, Gagli believes his score could have been even lower after seeing a small number of putts marginally miss the target.

“I’m really happy about my game today,” Gagli said.

“I hit 18 greens and missed maybe five or six short putts for birdie, so it could have been an unbelievable round.

“It’s an okay score, but I don’t know if 12 under par will be enough to be a leading score at the end of the day. I’m in a good position to go into the weekend.

“I went slightly into the rough on the 18th with the driver but otherwise I could’ve attacked the pin and given myself a chance of an eagle. I’m really happy with how I played today.”

After suffering with a shoulder complaint during his first round, the Italian received treatment from European Challenge Tour physio Amarjit Singh, to whom he paid homage after the conclusion of his round.

“My shoulder is much better today,” he said. “Amarjit did a great job yesterday and I have to thank him for the job he’s done for me. I’m pretty okay now.

“I feel really relaxed on the course and I’m always in conversation with my caddie – he helped me a lot on the course.”

Kim and MacIntyre go into the weekend two shots behind Gagli, while Belt and Road Colourful Yunnan Open winner Kim Koivu, Victor Riu, Joachim B Hansen, Oscar Lengden and Jérôme Lando-Casanova are among the group a shot further back on nine under par.

With several groups still to finish their second rounds, play will resume at 8.00am local time on Saturday and the third round will begin once all players have signed for their second rounds.

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