Svensson, Girrbach and Frittelli share Bahrain Championship lead

Jesper Svensson, Joel Girrbach and Dylan Frittelli will take a one-stroke lead into round three of the Bahrain Championship presented by Bapco Energies after reaching nine under for the tournament as strong winds blew around the Royal Golf Club on day two.

Starting his round on the 10th hole, Challenge Tour graduate Svensson’s six under par opening nine of 30 belied the difficult conditions as he carded four birdies and a spectacular eagle on the 14th after a 375 yard drive followed by a 198 yard approach to six feet.  His second nine was a more conservative affair, bookended by birdies on holes one and nine with just one blemish on his card after a three-putt on the eighth as he signed for a ‘round of the day’ seven under 65.

“It was tough out there,” said the Swede who admitted feeling under the weather for most of his time in Bahrain so far. “I decided from the beginning to play quite conservatively and play for the big targets. For the first part of the round, every time I had a putt it had a chance of going in.

“I hit it quite close on 14, so it was nice. It was a really bad bogey on eight, my 17th hole of the round, with a wedge in my hand after my tee shot, so it felt good to make a birdie on the last.

“I’ve been sick most of the time this week so I’m just going to try and get some rest and hopefully get some energy back.”

Girrbach got off to a slow start in the blustery conditions, dropping shots on the opening two holes, before steadying the ship with birdies on holes four and six and reaching the turn level par for the day. He got to grips with the wind down the back nine and went birdie-birdie over the final two holes to end his round on a high, signing for a two under par 70.

“I’m happy with it,” said the Swiss Challenge Tour graduate who was playing on the Alps Tour just two years ago. “It was a brutal start with two bogeys in the wind. It was a tough one early in the morning but I stayed patient and I’m happy with that finish.

“The DP World Tour has been my goal for the past eight years so I just enjoy it now I’m here. I played well at the back end of last year on the Challenge Tour and I’m just enjoying it now I’m here. Trying to give my best.

“Let’s see how tomorrow is going to be. I think it’ll be a similar game plan to today. I think patience is the key. Try and hit the fairways and greens and give yourself chances. As simple as it sounds, that’s the key.”

South Africa’s Frittelli finished his round in near darkness, carding two birdies in his last three holes to move into a share of the lead with a four under par 68 while Spain’s Alejandro Del Rey sits alone in fourth on eight under after signing for a two under par 70.

“I’m pretty excited,” said two-time DP World Tour winner Frittelli. “When I got out of bed this morning and checked outside it looked like horrendous wind out there so I wasn’t too psyched up for the round but I knew that meant that if I played well I could move up the leaderboard and maybe push to the top.

“I’m really proud of the way I played, I kept it in the fairways, kept it on the greens. I didn’t putt too well today and hopefully I can rectify that but I’m super excited to be in contention again.”

Fellow South African Ockie Strydom lies one shot further back at seven under after a 71 and is joined by Frenchman Julien Guerrier, the only bogey free player of the day with a 67, Australian Harrison Endycott (68), Welshman Jamie Donaldson (68) and round one leader Tom Vaillant of France who posted a one over par round of 73.

Away from course the Village Square was a hive of activity with plenty of activities and entertainment for the whole family.

A DJ provided the soundtrack to the day while the crowds enjoyed mini-golf, arts and crafts, kids’ activities, face painting and glitter stations and free golf lessons while appetites were appeased by the wide range of food trucks on offer.

Seef Entertainment, a subsidiary of Seef Properties, generously donated 100 Play Vouchers which were being distributed to lucky recipients to be redeemed at Hawa, Magic Island or Yabeela with thanks going to Essa Mohamed Najibi, Chairman of Seef Properties and Ahmed Yusuf, CEO of Seef Properties.

The curtain was brought down on another unforgettable day at Royal Golf Club by the dulcet sounds of live band Simple Soul on the big stage ahead of what promises to be a block rocking round three in Bahrain.

Spectators must register here in order to gain free general admission entry. To keep up to date with tournament news, follow @bahraingolfchamps on Instagram.

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