Italian teen Matteo Manassero boosted his hopes of making the US Open on Friday by moving into contention at the 100th Spanish Open in Seville after the second round.
Manassero’s 2 under 70 moved him to 4 under for the tournament and one stroke behind leader Gregory Bourdy (66) in windy conditions.
The 19-year-old Manassero shared second place with Jorge Campillo (72) of Spain and the England duo of Robert Rock (72) and Simon Dyson (69).
Former US PGA Championship winner Shaun Micheel, the first-round leader, bogeyed his last three holes to shoot 77 and slip to level par overall.
Manassero, ranked No. 64 in the world, needs to be inside the top 60 as of May 21 to ensure a place at the US Open, which starts on June 14 in San Francisco.
“I seem to be always trying lately to be trying to get myself into a major,” Manassero said.
“I missed out on the Masters and I’m now four places on the rankings from making the US Open, but the good thing is that I am again in contention and that’s all I can do,” he added.
“This also is my last chance for the World Match Play Championship, as I am first reserve, but in contention is what I expect of myself now and I like that feeling. It means I’m consistent,” he said.
Manassero was in a similar situation a month ago in striving to qualify for the Masters. He went to the Hassan II Trophy in Morocco lying 61st in the world and needing to win, but finished sixth.
He needs to finish in the top 5 in Seville to move inside the top 60.
If unsuccessful, Manassero could still join the Olympic Club field by going through a 36-hole US Open qualifier on May 28 at the Walton Heath course in Surrey, England.
Bourdy birdied two of his opening three holes then four of his closing six in his best round since a 66 in the third round in the Andalucian Open this year.
“I am very happy with how I have handled these two days because this has been two of the toughest days we’ve had on the tour this year,” Bourdy said.
Bourdy has won three times on the European Tour, his last being the 2009 Hong Kong Open.
Rock was also trying to qualify for the US Open, as he is right on the qualifying mark at No. 60 in the rankings.
English pair Danney Willett (73) and Graeme Storm (71) are well placed, despite Storm bogeying his closing two holes.
Jose Maria Olazabal shot a 72 to finish on 3 over par and make the halfway cut by two strokes. However, sitting out the weekend rounds is fellow Spaniard and former champion Alvaro Quiros, who was 5 over.
Joining him is 1994 winner Colin Montgomerie, who only arrived at the tournament an hour before tee-off on Thursday.
Monty hit a second-round 77 for a 9 over all told, while fellow Scot Paul Lawrie bogeyed three holes in a row in a 75 to also miss out.
Former US Open champion Michael Campbell has now missed the cut in all six events this year.
Spain’s Miguel Angel Jimenez battled a bout of food poisoning to also miss the cut with rounds of 75 and 80 to sit 11 over.