MADRID – English golfer Lee Slattery carded a 6-under 66 on Friday to lead the Madrid Masters by one shot at the halfway stage.
Slattery hit seven birdies and one bogey in the second round at El Encin Golf Hotel to get to 11 under, 133 for the tournament.
He leads Spanish golfer Eduardo de la Riva and Italian Francesco Molinari heading into the weekend.
“I got off to a good start, I was 2 under early and just kept it together and had a nice finish,” Slattery said. “I was actually getting too cautious with my game but ‘round here you can’t be, you just whack it. This suits me because I just enjoy it and don’t think too much. That’s the key.”
Slattery lost his tour card in 2007 and is again in danger of falling off the main tour this season.
The 33-year-old rolled in an 80-foot birdie putt at the 14th before finishing with two straight birdies.
“I don’t think I’ve ever walked off the course feeling so relaxed,” he said.
Defending champion and No.1-ranked player Luke Donald of England pulled to within three shots of the lead at one point, but fell back with two bogeys in the final three holes to card a 70 and move to 6 under for the tournament.
“A disappointing finish, but it’s not easy with the wind,” Donald said. “I played well the tougher holes and then I played the easy ones poorly. A couple of bad swings, really. “
First-round leader and 2009 champion Ross McGowan of England followed his opening 64 with a level-par 72 to remain eight under.
“I struggled a bit on the greens. They are playing quicker today and I didn’t really get the speed at all,” McGowan said. “After yesterday’s scoring the pins are tucked in and the wind picked up, so it’s a bit tougher.”