Madrid – Former world number one Jon Rahm remained in contention for a third Spanish Open title when he fired a second round 68 on Friday which left him two strokes off the lead at the halfway point.
The 27-year-old, who won the tournament in 2018 and 2019, is hoping to become the first three-time champion at the event since Seve Ballesteros 27 years ago.
After shooting 64 in the opening round, Rahm made a slow start to the second round, making three bogeys, before finding his touch on the back nine.
He narrowly missed an eagle at 14 and fluffed a shortish putt at the last that would have taken him to within a shot of joint-leaders Paul Waring and Stephen Gallacher.
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Englishman Waring produced the round of the day, sinking 10 birdies and two bogeys in a sizzling eight-under-par 63.
“I really enjoy this golf course, it suits me,” said Waring.
“I have had three weeks out sat on the couch. I didn’t do an awful lot in those three weeks but the golf game feels in good shape, and it is nice to be out in the sunshine, (with) great people, great food, great wine and a nice golf course.”
Gallacher opened with a bogey but came back strongly to nail a 65 and take a share of the top spot going into the weekend.
Gallacher and Waring are one stroke ahead of South African Hennie Du Plessis and Scotsman David Drysdale who both went round in 66.
Rahm is one shot further back alongside two of the three overnight co-leaders, Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Darius van Driel, as well as Lee Min-Woo and Matthieu Pavon.