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Italian Open 2012: Richard Bland leads at halfway stage

Bland birdie run hands Englishman control of Italian Open at halfway stage

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UPDATED:

18:33 GMT, 14 September 2012

Richard Bland birdied the last three holes of his second round to take the halfway lead at the Italian Open in Turin.

The Englishman carded a second successive 66, with birdies at the first, the 11th and four of the last six holes to eventually move ahead of a developing logjam at the top of the leaderboard.

France's Gregory Bourdy shot 64 to leap to 11 under alongside Scot Marc Warren and Spaniard Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, who both went round in 65, and Garth Mulroy of South Africa (67).
Bourdy said: 'This morning it was perfect conditions to play on this course.

Out in front: Bland has taken the lead at the turn of the Italian Open in Turin

Out in front: Bland has taken the lead at the turn of the Italian Open in Turin

Italian open 2012

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'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 do the same at the weekend.'

Richard McEvoy was at 10 under after following his opening 66 with a four-under-par 68. First-round leader Joel Sjoholm fell into a seven-way tie for seventh on nine under after failing to go with the trend of improved scoring.

He could only follow his opening round eight-under-par 64 with a 71 and was level with fellow Swedes Mikael Lundberg and Joakim Lagergren, Spain's Pablo Larrazabal, South African Richard Sterne, England's Sam Little and Victor Dubuisson of France.

Great Scot! Jamieson of Scotland plays off the tee during round two

Great Scot! Jamieson of Scotland plays off the tee during round two while Raphael Jacquelin watches his shot head towards the green (below)

Great Scot! Jamieson of Scotland plays off the tee during round two while Raphael Jacquelin watches his shot head towards the green (below)

English pair Lee Slattery and David Howell were hot on Sjoholm's tail overnight and that was where they remained, shooting 71 and 70 respectively to join compatriot Robert Coles and a host of others on eight under.

Ryder Cup-bound Martin Kaymer, Spaniard Rafa Cabrera-Bello, Welshman Bradley Dredge, Darren Fichardt of South Africa and India's Shiv Kapur completed the group.

A second Ryder Cup player, Italian Francesco Molinari, was in the group at seven under as was Graeme Storm, who was fifth in Holland last week having led for two rounds and started well again here with rounds of 69 and 68.

Molinari's brother Eduardo, the big-hitting Alvaro Quiros and Frenchman Thomas Levet were among the higher-profile players to miss the cut.

Picturesque: Slattery sends a putt towards the hole

Picturesque: Slattery sends a putt towards the hole

Joel Sjoholm claims first-round lead at BMW Italian Open

Sjoholm back in form with flawless 64 to claim first-round lead in Italy

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UPDATED:

18:24 GMT, 13 September 2012

Eight birdies put Sweden's Joel
Sjoholm one stroke clear with a round of 64 in the opening round of the
BMW Italian Open presented by CartaSi.

The 27-year-old had eight birdies in
his flawless round at Royal Park I Roveri as defending champion Robert
Rock could only shoot two under.

In the zone: Joel Sjoholm lines up a putt

In the zone: Joel Sjoholm lines up a putt

Italian Francesco Molinari was the best placed of the Ryder Cup-bound trio in the field as he shot four under, with Germany's Martin Kaymer carding two under and Belgium's Nicolas Colsaerts firing a one under 71.

Sjoholm, who was born in Chile but adopted as a baby and took up the game at the age of three, did not drop a shot as he finished one ahead of England's Lee Slattery who moved to seven under in one of the final rounds to be completed.

Two of Slattery's seven birdies came on the final two holes to put him one stroke ahead of a group of seven.

Impressive: England's Lee Slattery

Impressive: England's Lee Slattery

A late charge by David Howell had seen him join Richard McEvoy and Richard Bland, South Africans Keith Horne and Garth Mulroy, France's Victor Dubuisson and Northern Ireland's Gareth Maybin on six under.

Despite his score, Sjoholm felt he had not necessarily produced his best golf.

'It's more fun now I've finished,' he said.

'I hit it basically everywhere. I was in the woods a lot and made some funny birdies today.

'It was a big, fighting 64 rather than a solid 64, but it's great fun to be eight under.

'I want revenge because the last two weeks I actually played quite good golf. Normally when I score well, I have to putt well.

'The last few weeks I've putted quite poorly and missed the cut by one
stroke. Both times I felt like I had a good chance to make the cut, but
you have to forget and keep moving on.'

Molinari's brother Edoardo made his return after three months out following wrist surgery and scored two under with fives birdies and three bogeys in his native Turin.

He said: 'The wrist is feeling good. I'm very happy with it. There is absolutely no pain at all.

'It's an okay start. I was very rusty. I hit the ball quite poorly to be honest, but it's more than two months since I last played in competition. It's going to be a long way back to the top but I'll get there.'