Bertasio edges ahead in Vilamoura

Bertasio edges ahead in Vilamoura

Nino Bertasio takes a one-shot lead into the weekend at the Portugal Masters as he seeks his maiden European Tour victory.
The Italian entered the week at 117th on the Race to Dubai Rankings and is also outside the top ten on the Access List, but he’s on course for the big finish he needs after shooting two consecutive rounds of 65 at Dom Pedro Victoria Golf Course to get to the top of the leader board at 12 under par.

Lucas Bjerregaard of Denmark and Scotland’s Marc Warren – two men also on the outside looking in at the top 100 places in the Rankings – are a shot behind, one clear of Dutchman Joost Luiten and Jason Scrivener of Australia. Bjerregaard set the target at 11 under with a 65 in the morning and three-time European Tour winner Warren went one better in the afternoon to join him at the summit before Bertasio, the last man to tee off today, birdied two of his last four holes to take the lead.
Those gains at the sixth and seventh added to earlier birdies on the 12th, 14th, 16th and 17th in a bogey-free round for the 2015 Qualifying School graduate.

England’s Eddie Pepperell, who looks to have banished memories of losing his card at this event last year, is at nine under par alongside South African pair Dean Burmester and George Coetzee, 2012 winner Shane Lowry of Ireland, and fellow Englishman Graeme Storm.
Defending champion Padraig Harrington of Ireland joins Belgium’s Thomas Detry and Spaniard Nacho Elvira at eight under par.

Player quotes
Nino Bertasio:
“I’m feeling good, the game is really good. I made a bogey yesterday but had a bogey-free round today and it was very easy going.

“I’ve been hitting a lot of greens, I just missed one, and on that one I chipped it to one foot so I’ve not really struggled to make pars and I’ve had a lot of good looks at birdies. I made some and I missed some, so it was a very easy six under.
“I’m really playing well I’m hitting the ball well. It’s a very good golf course if you’re playing well. I’m really happy with what me and Rich are doing out there and we’re both looking forward to a good weekend.”

Lucas Bjerregaard:
“I played lovely to be honest. I hit it great off the tee and on this course there’s a good chance you give yourself a few looks at birdies out there and I did that today.
“I made a few good putts, actually my putting looks a bit better this week than it has been the last few weeks, so it was good. I felt very much in control and it was nice round.
“On the first nine the wind kept changing a bit, it was a little bit tough actually, but I managed to hit some good shots and get a good start. This is one of the courses where you feel like you have to make some birdies out there so it’s nice to get a few early.”

Marc Warren:
“I drove the ball well again, the same as yesterday. On the end of my front nine, which was the back nine, I went birdie, eagle and that just kept the momentum going.
“I like the golf course. Hopefully I’ll have a little bit better weekend this year. I think I finished top 15 or top 20 last year – I ran out of steam a little at the weekend – so hopefully I’ve saved plenty of birdies for the weekend this year.
“Once you get to the weekend it’s easy to get ahead of yourself and try to force it and make birdies. I thought I was very good the first two days at being patient.
“If I felt comfortable going for the flag then go for it, if not play for the middle of the green, which is tough to do when you see everyone making birdies, but hopefully the same attitude over the weekend will stand me in good stead.”

Joost Luiten:
” I couldn’t make the putts, that’s why it was not as good as yesterday, but I hit the ball pretty good. One mistake on 13, which was just silly, I basically lost two shots there with a wedge in, but I’m right in there.
“On the front nine I hit a couple of shots close and had a couple of easy birdies. You hope you can keep it going on the back nine, and I didn’t do that so I need to work on that tomorrow.
“It’s a good position, I’m right in the mix going into the weekend, so hopefully I can have a good Saturday and then we’ll go for it on Sunday.”

Eddie Pepperell:
“It was a good start, I hit two really good shots into the first and holed a nice one on the second. No bogies today, I think I only missed one green. The ball striking was very solid. It felt like a pretty effortless 67 to be honest.
“It felt like it could have been a couple better, but I’m in a really good position. It’s not often that I find myself in this type of position. I’ve had some good results of late and over the last four or five years, but often they’ve come from too far back on the Saturday and Sunday.
“To be in this position is something that I’m excited about, I can build on it. I feel like if I go out there over the weekend and stay very patient, keep doing what I’m doing, then come Sunday afternoon I’m going to have an opportunity to win this golf tournament.”




Photo: Getty Images

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