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Thursday, Oct 02nd

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Calmels keeps control in Madrid

A third round of level par 72 was good enough to keep François Calmels ahead of the field at the Challenge de Madrid, but the Frenchman will be acutely aware of a chasing pack gaining momentum and bidding to stop his charge towards a second Challenge Tour title.

Led by Denmark’s Thomas Nørret, whose five under par 67 (the joint best round of the day) saw him charge into second spot on 11 under, there are 15 players within five strokes of Calmels going into the final round.

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Vongvanij and Ormsby share the early lead at Ballantine's Championship

Thailand’s Arnond Vongvanij stood tall among the giants when he posted a second round three-under-par 69 to share the clubhouse lead with Australia’s Wade Ormsby after play at the €2,205,000 (Approximately US$2.8 million) Ballantine’s Championship was suspended due to fading light on Friday.

Ormsby also continued his solid run following his maiden Asian Tour victory in India earlier this month by signing for a 67 to lead the field with his two-day total of seven-under-par 137 at the Blackstone Golf Club.

South Africa’s Jbe Kruger, who has one win on the Asian Tour, posted a 67 to take a share of third place with Sweden’s Alexander Noren and England’s James Morrison on 138 total.

77 players will return at 7.30am, local time on Saturday morning to complete their second round with the third round scheduled to start not before 11am.

After having his opening round disrupted by rains, Arnond returned in the morning to complete his remaining eight holes and quickly moved within a shot of the leaders with his first round efforts of 68.

The 25-year-old then started his second round on the back-nine 10th and continued where he left off by surging ahead with birdies on holes 15 and 18. After an outward 34, Arnond birdied the second hole before dropping a shot on the fourth hole.

He recovered well with another birdie on the fifth to move back to seven-under and also a share of the lead heading into the weekend rounds.

“The conditions were not easy, and the pins were kind of tough, especially with the wind blowing.  So I'll take what I can get,” said Arnond.

“I'm just happy with the way I played and wherever the score stands, I'll still stick to my game plan tomorrow and go from there. I try not to have one, because, you know, if you just focus on your game, then it will always work out,” added the Thai.

Meanwhile Ormsby also returned in the morning to complete his remaining five holes  from his opening round before heading back for his second round where he traded six birdies against a lone bogey.

“My game’s in a pretty good shape.  Obviously I won a couple of weeks ago, took two weeks off and I’m now trying to keep that form going,” said Ormsby.

“The Ballantine’s Championship’s a big event but it’s still the same process, it's still playing golf.  I'll just keep doing what I'm doing and see where I finish up,” added Ormsby.

Inclement weather in the morning brought play to a halt again and when it finally resumed after more than an hour, Ormsby returned to the par-four second, only to dropped a shot there.

The 33-year-old, however, recovered well by coming home with two birdies in his last three holes.

“No player likes the stops and starts, because it's difficult to judge the pace of the green and get your rhythm going again,” said Ormsby.

“On that last restart, I went back out and was struggling with the pace of the green.  I might have to take a couple extra look at the putt just to reassure myself that I've got the right pace,” added Ormsby.

Kruger’s affinity with the Blackstone Golf Club continued as he took advantage of his good drives to keep himself in contention for his second win on the Asian Tour which is celebrating its 10th season this year.

“This is a golf course where you need to get your distances.  You can hit a couple yards left or right, but you need to hit it high and that's one of my strong points and that's why I like it,” said Kruger.

“The wind’s blowing a bit harder than yesterday, but I think it's the kind of course that if you're hitting it well, you can definitely go low.  The greens are very good.  If you hit them close, if you manage to hit them close, you'll definitely make a lot of birdies,” added Kruger.

The sixth edition of the Ballantine’s Championship will be the first event to be played in Korea on the Asian Tour this season and is once again sanctioned by the Asian Tour, European Tour and Korea PGA.

Leading morning scores after round 2:

137 - Wade ORMSBY (AUS) 70-67, Arnond VONGVANIJ (THA) 68-69.

138 - Alexander NOREN (SWE) 71-67, James MORRISON (ENG) 72-66, Jbe KRUGER (RSA) 71-67.

139 - Tommy FLEETWOOD (ENG) 68-71.

140 - Matteo DELPODIO (ITA) 71-69, Pablo LARRAZABAL (ESP) 70-70, KIM Hyung-sung (KOR) 71-69, Louis OOSTHUIZEN (RSA) 69-71, Marcus FRASER (AUS) 70-70, KANG Kyung-nam (KOR) 72-68, Magnus CARLSSON (SWE) 71-69, Brett RUMFORD (AUS) 73-67, WU Ashun (CHN) 75-65, JOO Heung-chol (KOR) 70-70.

141 - Jyoti RANDHAWA (IND) 72-69, Lee SLATTERY (ENG) 70-71, HU Mu (CHN) 72-69, Gregory HAVRET (FRA) 71-70.

Selected scores

142 - Paul LAWRIE (SCO) 75-67

143 - Thongchai JAIDEE (THA) 71-72

Calmels marches on in Madrid

Frenchman François Calmels continued his domination of the 2013 Challenge de Madrid on Thursday, as a three under par 69 was enough to claim a two-shot lead over the pack as the tournament reached its halfway stage at El Encín Golf Hotel.

Calmels, who shot a course record 63 in his first round on Wednesday, did though see his lead cut from three overnight as Philip Archer’s second consecutive 67 saw the experienced Englishman capture second place alone with 36 holes to play, one shot further clear of Sweden’s Jens Dantorp.

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Five way tie for the lead at Ballantine's Championship

Asian Tour winner Kieran Pratt kept Australia’s flag flying high on the world stage again after carding a flawless five-under-par 67 to take a share of the first round clubhouse lead at the weather-disrupted €2,205,000 (Approximately US$2.8 million) Ballantine’s Championship on Thursday.

Poor visibility and rain in the morning led to play being suspended and with over two hours of play lost, all 78 players from the afternoon session will have to return at 7.30am on Friday morning to resume their first round.

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Oosthuizen in the mix at the Ballantine’s Championship

Louis Oosthuizen finished the weather-affected first day of the Ballantine’s Championship one shot off the top of a packed leaderboard in South Korea.

The World Number Seven, who is making his debut in this week’s €2,205,000 event, covered the front nine at Blackstone Golf Club in just 30 strokes, but dropped two shots after the turn to finish the day on four under par.

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Calmels on cloud nine in Madrid

François Calmels carded a scorching course record 63 in the first round of the Challenge de Madrid to soar into a three shot lead on nine under par. The Frenchman, a winner on the European Challenge Tour at the 2009 Telenet Trophy, could even afford a bogey at the 16th after going ten under par through 14 holes at El Encín Golf Hotel in the Spanish capital.

The 31 year old opened with a birdie but two pars followed, giving little indication of the run on which he was about to embark.

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Yang sets sights on history at Ballantine's Championship

Asian Tour honorary member Y.E. Yang is hoping to reach another milestone in his illustrious career by becoming the first Korean to win the Ballantine’s Championship when the €2,205,000 (Approximately US$2.8 million) showpiece tees off at the Blackstone Golf Club on Thursday.

The sixth edition of the Ballantine’s Championship will be the first event to be played in Korea on the Asian Tour this season and is once again sanctioned by the Asian Tour, European Tour and Korea PGA.

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Torrance eyes historic hat-trick at Mottram Hall

Two-time ISPS Handa PGA Seniors Champion Sam Torrance has targeted a “milestone victory” when the 57th edition of the £260,000 event is held at De Vere Mottram Hall from June 6-9. Torrance’s first victory in the event came in 2005, and he successfully defended his title the following year en route to lifting the John Jacobs Trophy for the second successive season.

As well as the ISPS Handa PGA Seniors Championship, the 2002 Ryder Cup-winning Captain has also won the Bendinat London Seniors Masters on two occasions – in 2005 and 2007 – but the 11-time European Senior Tour champion is yet to run up a hat-trick of titles in his illustrious career.

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Jacquelin prevails in Valencia after marathon play-off

Frenchman Raphaël Jacquelin claimed his fourth European Tour victory at the Open de España, but only after a marathon, record-equalling play-off that lasted over two hours in Valencia.

Facing Germany’s Maximilian Kieffer and Chile’s Felipe Aguilar in the sudden-death play-off after 54-hole leader Marc Warren fell away during the closing stages of regulation play, Jacquelin triumphed with birdie on the ninth additional hole to claim the €250,000 first prize at Parador de El Saler.

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