Uihlein leads Spanish Open by one over three pursuers after second round

Peter Uihlein
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Series: European Tour

VALENCIA, Spain -- Peter Uihlein of the United States shot a 4-under 68 Friday to take a one-shot lead after the second round of the Spanish Open.

Uihlein had six birdies and two bogeys on the Parador de El Saler course, leaving him at 6-under 138.

Chile's Felipe Aguilar remains in contention for his second European Tour victory. He is one stroke behind with France's Raphael Jacquelin and Sweden's Rikard Karlberg.

Five players are another shot back. Spain's Sergio Garcia is seven strokes off the lead after a 73.

Uihlein, a former U.S. Amateur champion, rallied toward the end of his round with birdies at the 14th, 15th and 17th holes.

The Massachusetts native, whose father Wally is CEO of Acushnet, the parent company of Titleist and FootJoy, finished in the top five in his last European Tour appearance at the Tshwane Open in March, and followed that seven days later by a top-10 at the Puerto Rico Open on the PGA Tour.

“Leading a tournament is fun,” he said. “I have been close a couple of times after two rounds, so it’s nice to have the lead and be able to see how I do. It's all part of the learning process, and the more I do it the more comfortable I'll feel.

“I tried to plot my way around and my irons have been good, so I was able to do that. It’s nice to play a course like this now and then, where distance isn’t a premium and you have to think your way around. It’s nice to play a course where a couple under par is a good score. I think courses that make you think are actually more fun.”

Karlberg could have entered the weekend one shot in the lead but for back-to-back bogeys on his final two holes. He started his round with a birdie at the first followed by an eagle-2 at the par-4 second before two more birdies in succession helped him clear the opening four holes in 5 under par. He also birdied the par-5 11th and the par-4 14th holes.

“It has been a long time since I’ve had a good start and this was an excellent one,” he said. “I hit some great shots and I was lucky enough to sink my second for eagle on the second hole and just kept on going from there. Unfortunately, it was not the best finish but I’m still very happy with my round.”

Local favorite Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, meanwhile, couldn’t build on his strong start on home soil, carding a second-round 73, leaving him in tied for 14th on 2 under par.

“I didn’t play as well as yesterday but overall I’m in a good position for the weekend,” said the six-time European Tour winner. “I didn't blow it away, but I still think I have a chance to put myself into contention over the weekend.”