OULTON HALL’S Daniel Gavins shot a seven-under-par 65 in the second round of the Matchroom Sport Tour Championship at Desert Springs in Spain and takes a four-shot lead into the final round.
Gavins lowered his first-round tally in the HotelPlanner.com PGA EuroPro Tour’s season finale by two shots with a flawless round.
Four birdies on the outward nine, including three in succession from the second, were followed by three more coming home.
Victory on Friday would see Gavins (Walton Driving Range) make an immediate return to the Challenge Tour, which he played last year having graduated from the EuroPro in 2013.
That year he held a one-stroke lead after 36 holes of the Tour Championship, where his second-place finish saw him seal promotion to European golf’s second tier.
“I didn’t get much sleep (Wednesday night),” said Gavins, who had felt unwell ahead of his immaculate second round.
“I was just trying to get around. I didn’t come with any expectations of shooting under par; I was just trying to get around the course.
“I have been trying to take the pressure off myself by treating this as a warm-up for stage two Qualifying School next week and not worrying about what I shoot has helped me. I am looking forward to Friday now, it should be a good day.”
Hornsea’s Steve Uzzell added a level-par 72 to his opening 71.
He began well with birdies at the second and third, but was unable to push on and gave the shots back at 10 and 15.
Middlesbrough’s Michael Skelton bettered his first-round 74 by three shots, shooting three birdies as against one bogey going out.
A bogey at 10 was followed by birdies at 12 and 14, but the gain from the latter pair was wiped away by a double-bogey six at 15.
Malton & Norton’s Chris Halley (72 76) again struggled on the outward nine, his 41 one shot more than on day one due to four unanswered bogeys.
He played the homeward stretch in level, as opposed to three under on Wednesday, with one bogey and one birdie.
Doncaster’s Graeme Clark (77 74) was level par after six holes – with two birdies, two bogeys and two pars – but dropped three shots on the back nine, retrieving only one with a birdie at 15.
Howley Hall’s Marcus Armitage, twice a winner on the tour this season and second on the Order of Merit, has shot 78 75, ending all hope of winning the Race to Desert Springs Order of Merit.
Four shots seeped away inside three holes, including two at the first, and another was lost at the seventh.
He finished the nine with an eagle three and then came back in level par.
Rotherham’s David Booth improved his first-round 82 by six shots, but was heading for a sub-par round until a horrendous 10 at the 437-yard par-4 11th hole.
His outward nine had been an even mix of three pars, three birdies and three bogeys.
The top five players in the Order of Merit following friday’s conclusion of the Matchroom Sport Tour Championship will earn Challenge Tour cards.