31st May 2013 | Alps Tour Golf

Marguery stretches Grado Open lead over English duo

France’s Raphael Marguery will take a two-shot lead over Englishmen Jason Palmer and Ben Evans into the final round of the Friuli Venezia Giulia Open.

France’s Raphael Marguery (c) Agathe Séron

Raphael Marguery posted a solid four-under-par 68 in the second round of the Friuli Venezia Giulia Open on Friday to move two strokes clear of England’s Jason Palmer and Ben Evans as the Frenchman seeks a first Alps Tour victory.

Marguery’s 36-hole total of 11-under put him clear of Palmer, who had the round of the day with a seven-under 65 and Evans (66), while another Englishman in Laurie Canter and Slovenia’s Matjaz Gojcic were two shots further back on seven-under.

Ireland’s Brendan McCarroll (71), fourth in the order of merit, was tied-24th on two-under as he seeks to move up the standings with leader Jesus Legarrea and third-placed Borja Etchart in action on the Challenge Tour in Spain.

Marguery’s bad back, which has been a problem for two years, was again suffering after another day in unseasonably bad weather in northern Italy but the Frenchman was upbeat about his victory prospects.

“My back’s not great but I’m making do with it. I made a few small mistakes today so I’ll change my strategy for those holes,” said Marguery.

“In general the plan for tomorrow is the same though. I won’t try and seek perfection all the time when there’s no need. On some holes par is a good score, and hopefully the birdies will keep dropping,” he added.

Palmer, beaming broadly on the range after his round as he handed out tips to his compatriots, said he was hoping for better weather on Saturday after coping admirably with the often foul conditions on Friday morning.

“I’m not usually a good wet weather player, so I hope the rain stays away tomorrow,” said the Englishman, seeking a first win since 2010.

“It’s been a while since I’ve been in the mix, but I had a good last round last week when I wasn’t in contention,” added Palmer, who came joint-fourth at the rain-affected Umbria Open on Sunday after he shot a 67.

Evans said the key was holing out on the greens before hitting his tee shot at the tricky par-three 18th and then duly making his birdie putt to join Palmer on nine-under.

England’s Andrew Cooley, who won the first two events of the season but has since lost form, missed his fourth cut in five tournaments when he finished three shots behind the one-under mark.

Cooley was playing with former Ryder Cup player Costantino Rocca, a tournament invite, who carded a 76 for a 10-over total.

From Grado

Tom Pilcher

Golfmanager Press Agency

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