England’s Chris Wood mastered tricky, breezy conditions to open up a three-shot lead at the halfway stage of the Iberdrola Open on Friday as he closed in on a maiden European Tour title.
Wood carded a five-under-par 65 to move to eight-under-par with compatriot Matthew Nixon and experienced Northern Irishman Darren Clarke, who both hit level par 70s, back in second place.
Wood came closest to winning a Tour title in January when he lost a playoff to British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen at the Africa Open in East London.
“It will happen — I just need to keep putting myself in these positions,” Wood said. “The more that I can do that then the more chances I will have to win.”
Clarke, who won the last of his 12 European Tour titles at the KLM Open in 2008, started with an outward 38, but four birdies in six holes after the turn put him back on track.
There was another dropped shot when his tee shot found water at the 16th, but the former Ryder Cup star was satisfied with his day’s work.
“I didn’t play badly, I just hit a few errant shots that, as I said earlier, put me in the wrong spots which you can’t afford to do on this golf course,” he said.
Overnight leader Gregory Bourdy, who set a course record 63 on Thursday, slumped to a seven-over-par 77 for the second round, which sent him back to level par overall.