Matteo Manassero remains on track for a second consecutive European Tour victory after taking a two-shot lead at the Nordea Masters on Friday.
The 20-year-old Italian, who won last week’s BMW PGA Championship, added a seven-under 65 to his opening 66 for a 13-under total for two rounds on the Bro Hof Slott course in Stockholm, Sweden.
Manassero capped his round with four birdies in succession from the 11th hole.
“It was nice after my good start to come back today and shoot another great score,” he said. “I am glad [about] the way the day has gone as I played solid. Over the last five or six holes, I didn’t feel as good as I did at the beginning, but I was scoring well, which is a good sign.”
Finland’s Mikko Ilonen is second at 11-under after birdieing his last three holes for a nine-under 63. He matched a new course record set just hours earlier by Scotland’s Peter Whiteford, who is third at 10-under.
It is the third time that Ilonen has shot 63 in his career, while Whiteford’s effort is the 32-year-old’s lowest score in five full seasons competing on the European Tour and one shot lower than the 64 Lee Westwood scored en route to victory in the event last year.
“It was brilliant and a great round of golf, and it’s put me in a good position though it’s still a long way to go,” Whiteford said.
Whiteford came close to his first Tour win a month ago, losing in a playoff for the Ballantine’s Championship in South Korea.
Sweden’s Peter Hanson, the highest-ranked player in the field at No. 23, had reached eight-under after 16 holes, but then he double bogeyed the par-three 17th for a second successive 69 and a six-under total.
Australia’s Andrew Dodt became the first player in European Tour history to record two hole-in-ones in the same round when he aced his second — the 11th on the course — and his 16th hole, the seventh on the Stockholm layout.
He finished with a 65 to reach the two-under mark and squeeze into the weekend rounds. Last year, Dodt secured the second-to-last order of merit position to retain full Tour membership this year.
Among those missing the cut were Scotland’s Marc Warren (143), who was in the Wentworth playoff on Sunday last week, and former British Open champion Darren Clarke (145).