Spaniards march on Andalucia
Miguel Angel Jimenez sits one shot back of surprise leader Eduardo de la Riva at the halfway stage of the Andalucian Open.
Last Updated: 17/03/12 6:12pm
Miguel Angel Jimenez boosted his hopes of becoming the oldest-ever winner on the European Tour by moving within one shot of the lead at the Open de Andalucia.
The 48-year-old carded a second round of 68 to move to seven under in a tournament he is promoting - the Ryder Cup player even had to dip into his own pocket to help provide some of the prize money.
However, Jimenez is now firmly on course to get an instant return on his outlay after mixing in six birdies with two bogeys during Friday's round.
His efforts mean he sits in a five-way tie for second just behind compatriot Eduardo de la Riva, who followed up his opening 67 with a solid 69 to be the surprise leader at the halfway stage.
The 29-year-old from Barcelona was one of eight players given places in the event off the Spanish Order of Merit, with his best-ever finish being third place at the Madrid Masters.
The world number 610 - who has made nine trips to qualifying school - managed a birdie at the last to push himself clear on eight under.
"I had a poor start," said de la Riva, who was one over through two holes before recovering with three birdies before the turn.
"I missed a three footer on the first and bogeyed the second from 20 feet. I was beginning to lose confidence, but then I hit it close and made birdie on the third - that settled me.
"I am very pleased with my birdie on 18 which is a challenging hole. I took a five wood and four iron over the water."
Another Spaniard, Pablo Larrazabal (69), is in the group breathing down De la Riva's neck, along with Irishman Damien McGrane (68), England's Tommy Fleetwood (69) and first-round leader Matteo Manassero.
Italian teenager Manassero had carded a course record-equalling 64 on Thursday at the Aloha Golf Club, but managed only a 73 on day two.
There are a further eight players on six under, including Ryder Cup stars Eduardo Molinari and Oliver Wilson, who is playing on an invitation.
They are joined by English duo Robert Rock and David Lynn, Northern Irishman Michael Hoey, Hennie Otto of South Africa, Swede Joakim Lagergren and Raphael Jacquelin, the Frenchman signing for a 68.