Bjorn, Del Moral tied for lead at Estoril Open

Thomas Bjorn at the Estoril Open.

ESTORIL, Portugal – Thomas Bjorn of Denmark and Carlos Del Moral of Spain shared the lead at 12 under after the second round of the Estoril Open at Penha Longa on Friday.

Bjorn and Del Moral both had 7-under 65s and sit two strokes ahead of Steve Webster and Robert Coles of England and Damien McGrane of Ireland.

Webster shot a second straight 67, Coles had a 66 and McGrane followed up his opening 64 with a 70.

Bjorn, a two-time European Ryder Cup player, believes he is returning to form after a long slump that has coincided with his duties as the chairman of the European Tour’s Players Committee.

The last of his nine tour victories was at the Irish Open in 2006, and before playing all four rounds last week in the Wales Open he had missed six straight cuts.

The Dane held the outright lead at 13 under until a bogey at No. 18.

“The first 17 holes of my round I hit every fairway and only missed one green,” Bjorn said. “I was really steady and golf felt easy for once, which is a new feeling.

“I have felt I have been playing a bit better recently and I just needed to hole some putts to get momentum. In both of the two rounds here in Portugal I have holed a couple of early putts to get that momentum I needed.”

The 24-year-old Del Moral, ranked 524th in the world, missed the cut at the Spanish Open last month and credited his improved play to a new training regimen.

“I decided I need to be fitter and started running,” Del Moral said. “I needed more energy for hilly courses like this one and I don’t think I have ever felt so fit as I have done over the first two days here.”

English rookie Luke Goddard had shared the first-day lead with McGrane, but dropped into a tie for 15th after a 73.

Chris Wood, the pre-tournament favorite and highest-ranked player in the field at 81, shot a second straight 69.

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