Manassero bids for 2nd straight win

Matteo Manassero remains on track for a second consecutive European Tour victory after moving two shots clear of the field at the Nordea Masters on Friday.

The 20-year old Italian, who captured last week’s BMW PGA Championship, added a 7-under 65 to his opening 66 for a 13-under total for two rounds on the Bro Hof Slott course in Stockholm.

Manassero capped his round with four birdies in succession from the 11th hole.

”It was nice after my good start to come back today and shoot another great score,” he said. ”I am glad the way the day has gone as I played solid. Over the last five or six holes I didn’t feel as good as I did at the beginning but I was scoring well which is a good sign.”

Finland’s Mikko Ilonen is second at 11 under after birdying his last three holes for a 9-under 63. He matched a new course record, set just hours earlier by Scotland’s Peter Whiteford, who is third on 10 under.

It is the third time Ilonen has shot 63 in his career, while Whiteford’s effort is the 32-year-old’s lowest-ever score in five full seasons competing on the European Tour and one shot lower than Lee Westwood’s 64 set en route to victory in the event last year.

”It was brilliant and a great round of golf, and it’s put me in a good position though it’s still a long way to go,” Whiteford said. ”The scoring looks like it will be low over the weekend but it’s just great to be in contention again.”

Whiteford went close to a maiden Tour win a month ago, losing in a play-off for the Ballantine’s Championship in South Korea.

Sweden’s Peter Hanson, the highest ranked player in the field at No. 23, had moved to eight under par after 16 holes. But he then double bogeyed the par-3 17th for a second successive 69 for a 6 under total.

Australia’s Andrew Dodt became the first player in European Tour history to record two holes-in-one in the same round when he aced his second, the 11th on the course, and his 16th hole, the seventh on the Stockholm layout.

Unfortunately, there were no cash prizes or motor vehicles on offer at either hole for the 26-year-old golfer, who eventually posted a 65 to reach the 2 under mark and squeeze into the weekend rounds.

Last year, Dodt secured the second last order of merit position to retain full 2013 Tour membership.

Among those missing the cut was Scotland’s Marc Warren (143) who had been involved in last Sunday’s Wentworth play-off and former British Open champion, Darren Clarke (145).