Sparkling 62 hands Fraser share of lead in Italian Open

Marcus Fraser produced the lowest round of his European Tour career on Friday to grab a share of the lead at the halfway stage of the Italian Open.

Marcus Fraser produced the lowest round of his European Tour career on Friday to grab a share of the lead at the halfway stage of the Italian Open.

""The Australian fired nine birdies – including five in a row from the eighth – and no bogeys to sign for a second-round 62 and get to 13 under par.

The 39 year old had first-round co-leader Matt Wallace for company at the top of the leaderboard after the Englishman carded an eagle and four birdies in his bogey-free 65.

Early starters Fraser and Wallace sit two strokes clear of nearest challengers Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Jamie Donaldson who posted 67s in the afternoon to head into the weekend on 11 under.

Defending champion and home favourite Francesco Molinari was another shot back in fifth after mixing six birdies with three bogeys on day two.

Masters Champion Sergio Garcia and last week’s Alfred Dunhill Links Championship winner Tyrrell Hatton were then among the large group on nine under after another day of low scoring at Golf Club Milano.

Fraser began the day three shots behind the six players in a tie for the lead after Thursday’s 67 but soon set about closing the gap.

After picking up his first shot of the day at the sixth, Fraser reeled off five consecutive birdies around the turn to take the lead but an eagle at the ninth from Wallace saw the 2017 Open de Portugal at Morgado Golf Resort winner replace Fraser at the summit.

However, Fraser’s putter was red-hot and he rolled in from 12 feet for another birdie at the 14th to join him.

Fraser then closed his round with two further birdies at the 17th and 18th to post the lowest score of the week so far.

Three-time European Tour winner Fraser, who was 136th in the Race to Dubai Rankings presented by Rolex at the start of the week, was delighted with his performance on the greens.

He said: "To come and do that today, I’m pretty proud of myself and it’s quite reassuring that I still can play golf.

"I felt like I’ve putted well and scrambled well this week.

"Today I took it to a new level with the putter.

"I felt like I putted well yesterday and I probably out-did it today."

Wallace finished his first round with back-to-back birdies and he picked up where he left off on Friday morning, opening his round with gains at the first and second to get to nine under.

The Englishman made pars at his next six holes before holing his eight-foot eagle putt at the ninth to reach the turn in 32 and take the outright lead.

And just as he did on Thursday, Wallace made back-to-back birdies at the 14th and 15th to get to 13 under and join Fraser at the top.

After following up a first-round 64 with a 65 today, Wallace recalled another occasion on which he put together two strong rounds in a row.

He said: "When I won in Portugal, I backed up a 10 under with a seven under. It’s not that rare – I have done it before.

"Yeah, I just played good golf out there today and it’s perfect weather for us to shoot low."

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