Emiliano Grillo moved closer to securing his European Tour card for 2013 – and his first professional title – by shooting a 5-under par 67 for a four-stroke lead after the second round of the Perth International on Friday.
The 20-year-old tour rookie made two eagles and two birdies at Lake Karrinyup to sit at 11-under 133 and ahead of second-placed Bo Van Pelt (67) and Jason Scrivener (69).
Jason Duffner shot a 67 to be tied for fourth five strokes off the lead with Max McCardle (70) and overnight leaders Alejandro Canizares (73) and Michael Hendry (73).
Paul Casey conceded three bogeys and a double bogey for a 75 to drift out of contention heading into the weekend, while 2011 Masters winner Charl Schwartzel followed a first-round 71 with a poor 76 to miss the cut by one stroke.
Grillo is 112th in The Race to Dubai with the top 115 after next month’s Hong Kong Open retaining cards for next season.
He showed his intent by sinking a 40-foot birdie putt on the first hole, then chipped in from the bunker at the par-5 third for an eagle. His second eagle came on No. 9 where he fired a sand wedge from 100 yards to six feet past the pin, and spun the ball back into the hole.
”I think I hit it better yesterday than today, but a couple of eagles and a hole-out from the bunker helped a lot,” the Argentine said. ”Just go shot by shot, that’s the main goal. You cannot think about the third hole when you’re playing the second hole. It’s the hardest thing in golf probably, but it’s the best thing to do.”
Van Pelt had five birdies, two bogeys and an eagle on the long seventh hole to stay in sight of the lead.
Much of the action in the American’s round came late in the day when, after starting on the 10th hole, he hit a four iron to 25 feet on the par-5 seventh and sank the putt, then three-putted the short eighth before finishing with a simple birdie on the ninth after a good wedge approach.
”It was a solid day,” Van Pelt said. ”I would say the biggest difference from today from yesterday, I think I played the par 5s 5 under. I think I only missed three greens, so I was driving the ball in play, and was able to take advantage of the par 5s.”
Schwartzel dropped five bogeys on the front nine and missed a vital five-foot putt on the final hole to miss the weekend.
”It was a pretty much straightforward putt and it bounced out of line,” Schwartzel said. ”Nothing I can do about it.
”I figured if I could have just made the cut, you can still win the tournament … I’m disappointed the way I’ve played, but I’ve had a great time.”