Ireland's Dunne surges into Spanish Open halfway lead

Madrid (Spain) (AFP) –


Irishman Paul Dunne claimed a three-shot lead at the halfway stage of the Spanish Open with an enterprising second-round 65 on Friday, while home favourite Jon Rahm stayed well-placed for a weekend charge.

World number 76 Dunne, who is playing his first regular European Tour event since January after a successful stint in the United States, poured in nine birdies in his seven-under-par round to take the overall advantage on 13-under.

"My game is in good shape, I'm feeling good. I see a lot of birdies around this course if the weather stays like this so hopefully I can make them," Dunne told

"I think it's been training the right way for a while and I've got a nice run of events here in Europe over the next few weeks as well, so I'm looking forward to that and hopefully just keep doing what I am doing."

The 25-year-old made his name when he tied for the lead after three rounds of the 2015 British Open as an amateur, and claimed his first professional title at last year's British Masters.

After back-to-back top-10 finishes on the USPGA Tour, Dunne leads by three strokes from the trio on 10-under of Nacho Elvira, Brett Rumford and Callum Shinkwin.

World number four Rahm, who finished fourth at last week's Masters after a thrilling weekend surge, added a four-under 68 to his opening 67 and is four strokes off the lead.

The big-hitting Spaniard eagled the opening hole, but a double-bogey on the 12th stalled his charge.

Defending champion Andrew Johnston signed for a second successive 68 and is only a shot further adrift in a tie for ninth.