Jonathan Caldwell is Ireland’s sole survivor heading into the weekend as conditions continue to mount serious trouble at the Andalucia Masters at Valderrama.
The Clandeboye professional was far from disgraced in returning a four-over par 75 on his way to a six-over par total in the clubhouse on Friday.
With just four players under par heading into the weekend, Caldwell was one of many to struggle and signed for his score without a birdie in sight – a double and two bogeys accounting for his four dropped shots on the day.
He would’ve been joined by Cormac Sharvin in the weekend field if it wasn’t for a disastrous end to the Ardglass professional’s second round.
Level par on the card standing on the 15th tee, Sharvin closed with two doubles and a bogey at the last to miss the eight-over cut mark by a single stroke.
Gavin Moynihan ended 36-holes of torture with rounds of 79 and 78 for a 15-over par tally.
At the top, John Catlin will take a two stroke lead into the weekend after another bruising day at Real Club Valderrama.
The American started the day in a four-way tie for the lead and is the only player to have carded two rounds in the red as the field again contended with strong winds at the notoriously tough 1997 Ryder Cup venue.
The 29-year-old, who has won four times on the Asian Tour, began his round with birdies on the first and third holes, but was one over par for the day after his third bogey of the round came at the tenth hole.
He recovered strongly with gains on the 16th and 17th, and a crucial up-and-down on the 18th to sign for a one-under par round of 70 and a three-under par total.
“I was hanging on in the middle of the round,” Catlin reflected. “I got off to a hot start again but then I started making bogeys, which you can do out here pretty easily if you miss a fairway here and a green there. I made a really good bogey on nine, that could have been a double pretty quickly. I hung in there all day and was able to hole putts there on 16, 17 and 18. I hit a great shot on 18, I just misjudged the wind a little bit. It’s nice to get two good ones in over the first two days.
“Winning is never easy. It doesn’t matter what Tour you’re on, you have to go out there, make birdies and hole putts. Being able to look myself in the mirror and know I’ve done this before and can do it again is hugely helpful. It helped me out there today, even though I haven’t won a European Tour event, I know I’m fully capable of doing that.”
Catlin is two strokes ahead of Scotsman Connor Syme, who shared the 18-hole lead, 2014 Ryder Cup player Jamie Donaldson and five-time European Tour winner Pablo Larrazábal.
Wilco Nienaber moved up to fifth place after a one-under par round of 70, which included two birdies and an eagle.
Spaniard Alejandro Cañizares, who is attached to Real Club Valderrama, the Italian pair of Lorenzo Gagli and Guido Migliozzi, and Denmark’s Søren Kjeldsen, who won the 2008 Volvo Masters at this golf course, share sixth on one-over par.
Full scoring HERE
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