Alejandro Canizares makes a move with 66
Spaniard Alejandro Canizares delighted the home gallery on Friday when he took an early one-shot lead in the Madrid Open second round.
Canizares, son of Ryder Cup player Jose Maria Canizares, set up a chance of his second European Tour title after a six-under-par 66 took him to nine-under 135, one stroke better than Britain's Gary Lockerbie, who carded a second 68, and two shots ahead of Frenchman Jean Van de Velde, who also shot 66.
While the leader's father has stayed at home in Malaga, the rest of Canizares's family watched him collect seven birdies as he tried to add to his 2006 Russian Open maiden title.
"Every Spaniard wants to win this week but when you have your family here cheering on every shot it makes it a little bit easier," Canizares told Reuters. "Only my dad's not here. He says he's watched enough golf.
"The key to me leading is patience and finally putting well, which is what has been giving me a headache recently.
"Yesterday when I had a three-putt and went into water I kept going and trusted my long game."
Second-placed Lockerbie is one of a bevy of players fighting to keep his playing card. The 24-year-old Englishman is 141st on the European money-list.
He told Reuters: "I'm leaving it a little bit late. A top three would do it but it would just be very nice to finish top 10 and get into next week (Portugal Masters) where there's big money on offer."
Van de Velde signalled the end of a worrying period in which he has had to battle back from an enforced three-month break, following a long-term virus which returned with a vengeance in April.
The Frenchman, whose career was interrupted by a serious knee injury three years after his infamous 1999 collapse in the British Open, this time blessed his luck on the fifth hole, where he found his ball with time running out.
"We were looking in the wrong spot and a cameraman found my ball, which was a good break for me," Van de Velde told reporters.
Northern Irish teenager Rory McIlroy played alongside Van de Velde and accelerated with a 68. McIlroy, 18, one of the pre-tournament favourites even though he is playing in only his third event as a professional, lies six shots off Canizares's lead.