Pablo Larrazabal is halfway to breaking a two-year win drought.
The 33-year-old Spaniard fired a 6-under 66 Friday at the Volvo China Open, to grab the lead at Topwin Golf & Country Club in Beijing. The score was actually a regression from Day 1 – Larrazabal opened in 8-under 64 – but his 14-under total has him three shots clear of the field.
Larrazabal last won a European Tour event at the 2015 BMW International Open but entered this week off a T-11 finish at the Shenzhen International. That performance was preceded by a T-13 at Trophee Hassan II.
The good form from Shenzhen, also played in China, is clearly carrying over to this week, but with one key difference working in Larrazabal’s favor.
“I played probably tee to green the best golf of my career over the weekend (in Shenzhen) and, believe it or not, I didn’t hole any putts. I shot 11 under par over the last weekend but I didn’t hole as many putts as I wanted to, Larrazabal said, via EuropeanTour.com. “But it looks like these past two days have been the other way around.”
Larrazabal birdied Nos. 5, 6 and 8 to reach 11 under, but his round really kick-started early in the back nine. The Spaniard reached the drivable par-4 11th and rolled in a 10-footer for eagle. He followed up with a birdie at the 12th. Another birdie at 15 pushed him to 15 under and a four-shot lead. Larrazabal would bogey 17, ending a streak of 81 bogey-free holes in a row, but he’s still in the driver’s seat.
The four-time European Tour winner is being chased closest at 11 under by Alexander Levy and Dylan Frittelli. Levy, the first-round leader, fell from one ahead to three back thanks to a second-round 70. Frittelli tied the course record with a 63, jumping 24 spots to T-2.
Larrazabal looks to close things out over the weekend.
“It’s been a long time since I have been leading a golf tournament and I love it,” Larrazabal said. “So hopefully another good 36 holes and we will see what happens.”