Alvaro Quiros birdies final four holes to lead Rocco Forte Open
By Ali Stafford
Last Updated: 20/05/17 8:19pm
Alvaro Quiros birdied his final four holes to take a two-shot lead in to the weekend at the Rocco Forte Open.
The six-time European Tour winner posted a bogey-free 64 at Verdura Golf Club, with his fast finish lifting him two clear of overnight leaders Sebastian Soderberg and Michael Hoey.
Soderberg and Hoey signed for matching 68s to sit in a share of second, with Zander Lombard and David Horsey a further stroke back.
Raphael Jacquelin birdied his first five holes on his way to a joint-low round-of-the-day 62 to move within three of the lead, as former Masters champion Mike Weir made the cut for the first time in 34 events.
Beginning the day two strokes off the pace, Quiros eagled the par-five ninth to reach the turn in 34 and added a two-putt birdie at the par-five 12th.
The Spaniard wasn't able to replicate his ace from the opening day at the 13th as he made par, but moved into a share of the lead by following a gain at the 15th by holing a 20-footer at the next.
Quiros edged again with a 15-foot birdie at the 17th and picked up another shot at the last, where Hoey bogeyed to slip two off the pace.
"It's a very nice situation," Quiros said. "It's a long time ago since I had the option. My game today was a little bit worse than yesterday, but my putting on the back nine was unbelievable so I'm very happy with it.
Lombard briefly held the outright advantage but carded two bogeys over his final eight holes, with Jacquelin joined in a share of sixth by Jose-Filipe Lima and Mark Foster.
Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn lies seven strokes back at the halfway stage and top seed Jordan Smith made a second successive 68, while Weir finished on the cut mark at five under after a one-under 70.
Watch the Rocco Forte Open throughout the week live on Sky Sports 4 - your home of golf. Live coverage begins on Saturday from 1pm.