The hosts continue to lead the Portugal Nations Cup but it was England that turned in the best performance in round two, returning a team score of 134 (-12) courtesy of a pair of 67´s from Luke Goddard and Sam Hutsby. Jamie Abbott also improved on his first round score but he can consider himself unlucky in only returning a 72 (-1) when his golf deserved better.
All three England players covered the front nine in 34 (-3) strokes and Luke set the early pace, only a final green three-putt preventing him from equalling the course record of 66. His two round total of 137 leaves him in second place in the individual standings with one round remaining.
Jamie, following in the group behind, was well positioned to post a similar score but a curious incident on the 12th green (or more accurately over the 12th green!) rather spoilt the momentum he had built up. Following a well positioned tee-shot his short iron second looked set for the middle of the putting surface but the ball lodged itself in the branches of an overhanging tree and failed to reappear. Despite our best efforts to clamber up the trunk and into the foliage within the five minutes allowed it was impossible to locate and identify the ball and so he was forced to return to the middle of the fairway to play his fourth shot. The resultant double bogey returned his score to -1 from which he made no further progress.
Sam also suffered a stroke of ill fortune when his tee shot at the 9th hole rebounded from the cart path and into the water hazard far beyond but the resultant bogey did little to halt his progress as further birdies at the 10th, 14th and 15th progressed his score to -6 for the day. The par five 16th and 18th holes promised further birdies but despite being greenside at both he was forced into two putting on both occasions and his score remained at -6, replicating Luke´s earlier 67.
England are well positioned going into tomorrows final round, they now lie four shots ahead of Belgium in third place and only one adrift of Portugal in front, with Jose Maria Joia continuing his efforts to win the tournament single-handedly. His second round score of 67 was one shot worse than yesterday but he has a commanding four shot lead in the individual standings.