Fast finish boosts Bland

Four tied a shot off the pace as leader comes home in 31

Last Updated: 14/09/12 7:22pm

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Richard Bland: down in 126th in the Race to Dubai

Richard Bland: down in 126th in the Race to Dubai

Sky Bet

England's Richard Bland finished with three straight birdies to grab a one-shot lead at the halfway stage of the BMW Italian Open in Turin.

The 40-year-old from Southampton carded a second successive 66 to move clear of a group of four players at 11 under par.

They are France's Gregory Bourdy, who shot an eight-under 64, Spain's Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano (65), Scotland's Marc Warren (65) and South African Greg Mulroy (67).

Second round leaderboard

GB&Ire unless stated

-12 R Bland
-11 G Bourdy (Fra)
-11 G F'dez-Castagno (Spn)
-11 M Warren
-11 G Mulroy (SA)
-10 R McEvoy

Click here for collated scores

Bland has never won on the European Tour and at 126 in the Race to Dubai, he is facing another trip to qualifying school and desperately needs a good finish this week.

But he will be in confident mood heading into the weekend after coming home in five-under 31 to complete a bogey-free round.

First-round leader Joel Sjoholm fell into a seven-way tie for seventh on nine under after failing to match the improved scoring on day two.

The Swede could only follow his eight-under-par 64 with a 71 and was level with fellow Swedes Mikael Lundberg and Joakim Lagergren, Spain's Pablo Larrazabal, South African Richard Sterne, England's Sam Little and Victor Dubuisson of France.

English pair Lee Slattery and David Howell were hot on Sjoholm's tail overnight and that was where they remained, shooting 71 and 70 respectively to join compatriot Robert Coles and a host of others on eight under.

Ryder Cup-bound Martin Kaymer, Spaniard Rafa Cabrera-Bello, Welshman Bradley Dredge, Darren Fichardt of South Africa and India's Shiv Kapur completed the group.

A second Ryder Cup player, Italian Francesco Molinari, was in the group at seven under as was Graeme Storm, who was fifth in Holland last week having led for two rounds and started well again here with rounds of 69 and 68.

Molinari's brother Eduardo, the big-hitting Alvaro Quiros and Frenchman Thomas Levet were among the higher-profile players to miss the cut.

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