Thomas Levet takes a two shot lead
Thomas Levet of France shrugged off a stiff back to grab a two-shot lead after the Spanish Open second round on Friday.
Levet’s five-under-par 67 earned a 13-under total of 131, two ahead of overnight leader Soren Hansen of Denmark.
Hansen began his opening round 63 with a double-bogey six and ended the second day in the same disappointing fashion, his 70 leaving him a stroke ahead of holder Peter Lawrie of Ireland (66).
Strong winds in the afternoon prevented Levet’s target being attacked but John Daly handled the gusts well to card a 72 and make the cut on 142, two under.
“It was brutal,” said the twice major champion who is on a five-week run in Europe before returning to the United States.
“You just couldn’t make up any ground but I’m getting a weekend’s play in and that’s better than packing up to go to Italy (for next week’s tournament),” Daly told reporters.
European Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie missed the cut after ballooning to a nine-over 81 for 153.
Levet is looking for a second Spanish win in as many years after taking the 2008 Andalucia Open title by beating Britain’s Oliver Fisher in a playoff.
Last year the Frenchman claimed his fourth European Tour title after suffering a spell with career-threatening vertigo.
This time the 40-year-old’s malaise is not so serious but has still caused him problems in the last three weeks.
“I won’t be doing much practising, maybe hit just 50 balls and 25 putts, because my back is so stiff,” said Levet.
“My bad back started during U.S. Masters week (last month) when I was sitting around all week commentating. I’m a standing person not a sitting person.
“With two long flights as well I really stiffened up. The physio guys are doing a good job keeping the back relaxed though,” added the former Ryder Cup player.
Lawrie, who beat Spain’s Ignacio Garrido in a playoff in Seville last year, was upset he had not received much recognition this week.
“I’ve come here under the radar,” said the 2008 winner. “I am disappointed there isn’t one picture of me at the course.
“I thought I deserved some recognition but unfortunately nothing has happened.
“It’s acted as a motivation. I’ll just have to play well to make my point.”