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Thomas Bjorn & Carlos Del Moral share halfway lead

Former Ryder Cup player Thomas Bjorn continued his return to form when he took a share of the lead at the halfway stage of the Portuguese Open on Friday.

A second-round, seven-under-par 65 allowed the Dane to race to 12-under-par 132 alongside Spain’s Carlos Del Moral. Del Moral had set the target by firing a 65 in the morning.

The pair led by two strokes from Britons Robert Coles (66) and Steve Webster (67) and Irishman Damien McGrane (70).

A closing bogey, when Bjorn missed the fairway for the first time in the round, marred a perfect day in which he had run up eight birdies.

The 39-year-old was delighted, however, at finding his game again after a long spell in the doldrums. His shot on the short 17th which left him inches from a hole in one, typified his day.

“I hit a lot of great shots like that all day,” Bjorn told Reuters. “It was a shame I made a bit of a shambles of the last.”

A ninth place in last week’s Wales Open after a run of six missed cuts began the Bjorn revival and success in pre-qualifying for the British Open on Monday gave him confidence for this week, he said.

With his best start for more than six years, Bjorn might reconsider his assertion on Wednesday that putting himself into the reckoning for a third appearance in the Ryder Cup was “getting way ahead” of himself.

“I’ve got to go out and deliver at the weekend now,” he said.

Co-leader Del Moral is looking to revive his career, too. The 24-year-old Spaniard, who lost his card last year, matched Bjorn’s eight birdies.

“Last year was disappointing so I started training hard, like the top players do,” he told reporters. “It’s had an effect. Hopefully it can continue for the next two days and the rest of the season.”



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