MARBELLA, Spain — Eduardo De La Riva, a Spaniard ranked 610th in the world, shot a 3-under 69 on Friday to take a one-stroke lead after two rounds in the Andalucia Open.
De La Riva, who has made nine unsuccessful trips to European Tour qualifying school, was at 8-under 136 on the Aloha course. He qualified for the event though the Spanish regional money list.
“I am very pleased with my birdie on 18, which is a challenging hole,” La Riva said. “I took a 5-wood and 4-iron over the water. I played well off the tee, but the key today were my shots to the green from 100 to 150 yards.”
Tournament host Miguel Angel Jimenez shot a 68 to join Spain’s Pablo Larrazabal (69), Italy’s Matteo Manassero (73), Ireland’s Damien McGrane and England’s Tommy Fleetwood (69) at 7 under. Jimenez, a two-time Andalucia Open winner, is using the tournament as a final warmup before the Masters.
“I am only one shot behind the leader and it will be nice to be there in front on Sunday,” Jimenez said. “I have played a lot of golf recently, competing in the two WGC events in America, so this will be my last event before Augusta. But this week has been very tough and very busy for me helping organize the event and while I have a lot of good people around me it always takes me forever to go from point A to B.”
Manassero, three strokes ahead after match the course record with a first-round 64, played the first 12 holes in 3 over. He birdied Nos. 15 and 18.
The 18-year-old Manassero played alongside Jimenez.
“I talked a lot with Miguel about age difference, as he is 30 years older than me,” Manassero said. “But I love playing with him because I learn a lot from his experience. He joined the tour when he was 24, and he has played in the majors and Ryder Cups, so ho
Canadian Mike Weir was 3 under after a 73.
TRANSITIONS CHAMPIONSHIP: At Palm Harbor, Fla., Padraig Harrington was 12 shots worse without feeling as though he played that badly.
Harrington followed his course-record 61 with a 2-over 73 on Friday in the Transitions Championship. He fell two shots behind Jason Dufner, who had another 66 and has gone two rounds at Innisbrook without making a bogey.
Dufner is 0-for-159 on the PGA Tour, the only player among the top 50 in the world without a win on any tour. But he feels as though he is getting close, and he has given himself another shot this week.
He was at 10-under 132, two ahead of Harrington and William McGirt, who had a 68.
Luke Donald, who could go back to No. 1 with a win this week, had a 68 and was three shots behind.
WOOSMAN TO MISSISSIPPI: Ian Woosman, the 1991 Masters champion, received one of four sponsor’s exemptions to play in next week’s Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic at Fallen Oak in Saucier, Miss.
The Champions Tour event runs from March 23-25. The defending champion is Tom Lehman, who will play in the event.
The others getting exemptions for the Champions Tour event are Bobby Clampett, Keith Fergus and Anders Forsbrand.
The final field will be announced Friday for the 54-hole event that will feature 29 of the top 30 players on the tour’s money list last year.
Others who have committed to play include Fred Couples, Corey Pavin, Tom Kite, Mark O’Meara, Mark Calcavecchia and Nick Price.
“The quality of our exemptions is reflective of the quality of our field,” tournament director Steve Nieman said. “There are some guys who didn’t get exemptions who are deserving of exemptions.”
Woosnam played in two Champions Tour events last year. He has two PGA Tour wins and three international victories in his career as well as 43 other victories.