2nd May 2013 | Alps Tour Golf

Legarrea celebrates birthday in style with two-shot Rebetz lead

Jesus Legarrea (c) Agathe Séron

Jesus Legarrea (c) Agathe Séron

Birthday boy Jesus Legarrea’s birdie blitz in the soft morning conditions helped him fire a seven-under-par 66 and open up a two-shot lead going into the final round of the Open International de Rebetz.

Legarrea stormed out of the blocks on a still morning to be seven-under through 12 holes, which included three straight birdies from the first hole after he started at the 10th, and on Friday the Spaniard will have to fend off compatriot Borja Etchart (67) and Ireland’s Stephen Grant (65), whose eight-under round bettered the course record by two shots.

Legarrea, who regularly plays with twice Masters champion Jose Maria Olazabal and gets short game tips off Europe’s 2012 Ryder Cup winning captain, holed a bunker shot on the par-five sixth for eagle and was grateful for the easier conditions having started at 8:44am.

 “Today was another great round tee to green, similar to yesterday, and with last night’s rain the course became easier in my opinion. It gave me a present today,” said Legarrea after his fellow Spaniards on tour sung him ‘Happy Birthday’ following a closing par on the short ninth.

 “I’m delighted to have played good golf two days running and tomorrow I hope to carry on in the same vein and make the most of playing on this great course,” added the 26-year-old, who forgot to enter himself for the tournament and was given an invitation by the Alps Tour director.

Legarrea will face fierce competition from Etchart, who has made only two bogies in his first 36 holes and has been putting brilliantly and Grant, in confident mood after his attacking round.

“I feel comfortable on this course. There are many holes where you can be aggressive but if you mess up the first shot you can easily make bogey,” said Etchart.  

Former professional footballer Grant, who is playing his first event on the Alps Tour, could have reached 10-under for his round when birdie putts on his final two holes narrowly missed the target, though the Irishman said he was lucky to have kept out of trouble on the par-four seventh, his third last hole.

“I got a real lucky break. I hit my ball in the rough on the right hand side and it was absolutely buried. I hit nine-iron out the lie and it could have gone in the water but it got over,” said Grant, who added his increasingly calm playing demeanour has been helping his golf.

“I was a pretty aggressive soccer player. I’m trying to mellow myself, I’m too high and low you know, so I’m trying to chill out,” he said.

France’s Alan Bihan tied Grant’s course record in the afternoon with a nine-birdie effort to be joint fourth on eight-under with compatriot Fabien Marty (70), while five more players were a shot further back.

“I think my level is getting better year after year. Tomorrow I’ll try to do the same as today and hope some putts drop,” said Bihan, twice a winner on the Alps Tour.

Order of merit leader Andrew Cooley of England missed the cut at two-under after he posted a 74 to finish level.

From Rebetz
Tom Pilcher

Golmanager Press Agency

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