Riley prospers under conservative regime

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The Independent Online
Golf

A questionnaire at each Tour event asks the players to comment on various aspects of the tournament. For the greens, they are asked to state whether the pace is slow, medium or fast. "All of the above," suggested one competitor in the Portuguese Open at Aroeira. "But not necessarily in that order."

"I'll deny saying it," David Feherty said. The Irishman pitched in from 70 yards at the ninth to finish his second round at three under par, "hence avoiding the embarrassment of trying to putt".

He was then five behind the overnight leader, Klas Eriksson, who had yet to begin his round. "His eight under yesterday was extraordinary," Feherty added. "I can't see it happening again. If the wind keeps blowing, eight under could win."

Of course, in the afternoon, the wind dropped. Although Eriksson faltered, Wayne Riley continued his good work. To his first round 65, the Australian added a 67 to reach 10 under. He leads by three from Jose Coceres, with Eriksson one further back. In picking up six birdies, Riley is clearly doing something well. "I'm keeping the ball on the fairways," he explained.

To do so he is utilising the more conservative of his driving styles, hitting it around 255 yards, but straight. On a bigger course, he would launch a 275-yarder only "relatively straight". The Scottish Open champion has also been working to tighten his swing. Only last week, in Dubai, did he feel the improvement and he decided to make the trip to Portugal only last Saturday.

"If you hit fairways and greens, you are going to have some chances. I'm trying to putt the same as on good greens, but I'm not expecting as many to drop. I can't describe how bad the greens are," he said.

Some things are better slept on. Jamie Spence must have come as close as anyone to dreaming good things about the greens after holing a 15-foot birdie putt in the dark on Thursday ,to stay four over with five holes of his first round to play.

Yesterday, he picked up another two birdies in those holes, before adding a 66. Pride of place went to a putt from 30 feet at the second that dived underground. In 24 holes he had improved from four over to four under, to be the joint leading Englishman with Russell Claydon.

Eriksson went out in 38 on his way to a 73, 10 shots worse than the day before. In contrast, the Argentinian Coceres shot a 67 that had much to do with his anticipation of returning home to Buenos Aires on Sunday night "for some good beef".

PORTUGUESE OPEN (Aroeira, Lisbon) Leading second-round scores (GB or Irl unless stated): 132 W Riley (Aus) 65 67. 135 J Coceres (Arg) 67 68. 136 K Eriksson (Swe) 63 73. 137 J Townsend (US) 69 68; P Haugsrud (Nor) 67 70; O Karlsson (Swe) 68 69. 138 R Claydon 66 72; J Spence 72 66; M Gates 68 70; D Borrego (Sp) 67 71. 139 G Chalmers (Aus) 69 70; D Feherty 70 69; J Van de Velde (Fr) 74 65; T Gogele (Ger) 69 70; J Rivero (Sp) 71 68; J Haeggman (Swe) 67 72; R Willison 66 73. 140 M Davis 72 68; P Linhart (Sp) 68 72; P Baker 71 69; F Lindgren (Swe) 68 72; P Sjoland (Swe) 68 72; M Roe 70 70; R Dinsdale 70 70; P Nyman (Swe) 72 68. 141 L Westwood 70 71; D Smyth 68 73; A Collison 72 69; M Tunnicliff 75 66; T Johnstone (Zim) 69 72; P-U Johansson (Swe) 71 70; P Lawrie 72 69; B Lane 70 71; S Cage 71 70; R Drummond 71 70; M McLean 68 73; M Gronberg (Swe) 68 73; D Silva (Por) 67 74; P Harrington 72 69; M Besanceney (Fr) 68 73; A Sherborne 72 69; N Briggs 72 69. 142 D Carter 71 71; P Way 72 70; D Robertson 70 72; S Gallacher 72 70; A Coltart 70 72; M A Jimenez (Sp) 71 71; R Boxall 70 72; F Howley 72 70; H Buhrmann (SA) 71 71; M Wills 73 69.

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