Golf: Birdie blitz fires Quiros to the top

Alvaro Quiros

SCIACCA, Sicily- Spaniard Alvaro Quiros ended his second round with four consecutive birdies to post a seven under 64, giving him a two shot lead over Northern Irishman Michael Hoey and Swede Sebastian Soderberg as the Rocco Forte Open enters the weekend.

 The 34-year-old Cadiz native got off to a slow start Friday afternoon, opening with eight straight pars in slightly more challenging conditions than Thursday’s opening round.

 However, Quiros burst into life with a spectacular eagle at the 9th, before following that with a birdie at 12 and then the fireworks begun as he birdied his final four holes to end the day at 15 under.

 "It's a very nice situation," the Spaniard told the European Tour media.

 "It's a long time ago since I had the option. My game today was a little bit worse than yesterday but my putting on the back nine was unbelievable so I'm very happy with it.”

 "Sometimes I've been very greedy, trying to force myself into a better score when the game wasn't good and today I have to be proud of myself. Eight consecutive pars was the typical situation for me to blow my mind because I'm not shooting low. Today was a big step mentally speaking, trying to be patient,” he added.

 Further down the leaderboard there was a big move from Italian home favourite Renato Paratore, who responded from a disappointing level par opening round by shooting a bogey free round of 62, to catapult himself into contention over the weekend, much to the delight of the Italian crowd.

 Another Italian, Matteo Manassero, continued his recent good play as he matched his opening round score of 67 to sit within pouncing distance at 8 under, seven strokes behind Quiros’ lead.

With winds expected to reach gusts of up to 30mph, the stunning Verdura Resort course will most likely show its teeth over the weekend. After the opening two rounds yielded birdies and eagles galore, it may well be a case of last man standing come Sunday afternoon.