Date: October 25, 2008

O’Malley sneaks in

There was no place like home for Sergio Garcia on Friday as a six-under-par 65 gave him a share of the lead at the Castello Masters on a course he grew up playing. But there was simply plain relief for the lone Australasian in the field, Peter O&aposMalley, who was right on the cut at even-par after a second-round 70. Garcia, though, who is hosting the inaugural tournament, showed sparkling form at the Club de Campo Mediterraneo, where his father Victor is still the professional, to reach 11-under after his second round. That put him level with Englishman Richard Finch and Denmark&aposs Soren Kjeldsen, the first-round leader. Garcia suffered a shaky start with a bogey at the second hole, but used his local knowledge to good effect as he fired seven birdies thereafter. His back nine was peppered with some sublime short play, the highlight of which was a brilliantly controlled chip from the rough with his second shot on 18 which stopped inches from the pin. “I&aposve had to play that shot many times but that&aposs probably the closest I&aposve got,” said Garcia. “I knew as soon as I hit it that it would be close and it was great to finish the round with a birdie again.” “This week is great. It&aposs nice to be in this position as there is a little bit of pressure playing on my home course. But I&aposm really enjoying it and hope I can be 100 per cent over the weekend.” Finch went on a six-hole birdie spree on his way to a 66, racking up shots on six successive holes from the fifth, but that run came to an abrupt halt at the par-four 11th where he three-putted for bogey, and he dropped another shot at the last. Kjeldsen also bogeyed the 18th, finding bunkers from the tee and with his second shot, for a 67, which cost him the outright lead. It was a different story 12 months ago for Finch as he left it until his last event of the season to secure his card with a seventh-placed finish at the Mallorca Classic. Three months after that he won the New Zealand Open, in May he clinched the Irish Open, and he was comfortably placed at 19th in the Order of Merit heading into this event. “I&aposm sleeping a little better than I did this time last year,” said Finch. “I&aposm still as determined as I was last year but the pressure is not so great and I&aposm able to sleep a lot better.” “Keeping hold of your card is such a tough thing to do.” “Today was strange. The run of birdies was great and it was like I couldn&apost miss. But then on the way back I only had one and it shows how the game can turn.” Five players were on nine-under, including Alvaro Quiros, last week&aposs Portugal Masters champion, who continued his red-hot form with a 66, and Frenchman Francois Delamontagne, who needs a strong performance to finish in the top 115 and retain his European Tour card for next season. Camilo Villegas lived up to his billing as one of golf&aposs most exciting young talents by hitting a hole in one on the par-three 12th, which helped him to a five-under 66 to leave him six-under. Garcia said of the shot: “I said to him you&aposre not supposed to do this on my home course. But I was just joking, I was very happy for him.” “That was the hole where I got my first ever hole in one.” Second Round of the Castello Masters (Par 71) -11: Richard Finch 65 66, Sergio Garcia 66 65, Soren Kjeldsen 64 67 -9: Francois Delamontagne 66 67, Simon Dyson 66 67, Peter Hedblom 68 65, David Lynn 67 66, Alvaro Quiros 67 66 -8: Thomas Levet 66 68 -7: Phillip Archer 67 68, Ignacio Garrido 65 70, Mikael Lundberg 67 68, Rory McIlroy 68 67 -6: John Bickerton 66 70, Paul Casey 69 67, Maarten Lafeber 70 66, Alexander Noren 68 68, Jarmo Sandelin 69 67, Camilo Villegas 70 66 Also: E: Peter O Malley (Australia) 72 70