Alejandro Cañizares recovered brilliantly from a stumbling start to his second round at the Austrian Golf Open to maintain his lead at Diamond Country Club, where Martin Kaymer’s presence continues to loom large as the German remains one stroke back heading into the weekend.
Cañizares, the two-time European Tour winner from Spain, began the day one shot clear at the top but opened his second round with a bogey at the tenth hole, his first, followed by a double bogey at the 11th to drop three shots in his opening two holes.
The 38-year-old dug deep, however, and three successive birdies from the 14th hole along with four more on the way home helped him to a two under 70 and a seven under total.
Two-time Major winner Kaymer signed for the same score thanks to five birdies and three bogeys to share second place with American John Catlin on six under par, while South Africa’s Justin Walters was a shot further back on five under par.
Alejandro Cañizares: “I felt good but bogeyed the last. After the way I started – I struggled at the beginning – I then started hitting some great shots, I think the turning point was at the par three 15th hole where I made a long putt for birdie and that triggered it a little bit.
“I started doing very well after that, didn’t make many putts – that was the only one really. Most of the birdies I made were two-putts on par fives or two or three footers with my second shots on par fours. I hit the ball nicely – it’s a pity I finished with a bogey on the last but overall it was a great round.
“I was trying to hit every shot the best that I could because at the start it was really cold and I was feeling it more than yesterday. Like I said yesterday, the most important thing was to stay calm and focussed and accept the fact that you’re going to be freezing cold and move the best you can with every shot.”
Martin Kaymer: “I would rather lead the tournament, but I think it was a decent start to the golf tournament, I would say. Today I missed a few opportunities and a couple of silly mistakes unfortunately happened, so I can build on my solid play and hopefully I can avoid a couple of mistakes over the weekend.
“For me, the par threes. I struggled on the par threes a little bit, especially with the tee shots on six and 14. Those two par threes really play with my mind a little bit, I don’t know what it is, so I need to figure it out over the weekend.
“Not so much on the range, but I need to find a way to actually hit a shot on those holes, not just a straight six iron or a straight four iron, I need to play something; maybe a low one, a high one, a fade or something, because the pin is in the middle of the green, there’s no danger left or right, it’s almost too easy. It’s too wide and you need to be very specific so it’s just something I need to focus on.
“I think it’s very necessary that you act spontaneously on the conditions. The wind obviously affects your golf game a lot. There’s not really one normal golf shot out there, you need to consider the wind and therefore I think it will be really interesting how it will play on Saturday and Sunday.”
John Catlin: “I played well here last year and I love how the greens roll – I get over every putt and I’m super confident in my ability to make it. It would have been nice to go bogey-free for 36 holes but so far I’m happy with how I played.
“It was a little warmer, yesterday morning was about one degree Celsius and blowing about 25 miles an hour. Today was probably seven or eight but it was still a pretty cold breeze.
“I’ve been putting in some hard work over the last two weeks, my and my coach Noah, and we’ve been putting in the work for the last seven years so when I’m a little off I can go back to the driving range and put in the work.
“I didn’t play as well as I’d have liked to at the start of the year and I got my butt in gear, so it’s been nice to play well for the first two rounds but there’s a long way to go.”
Justin Walters: “I think that was as solid as I could produce given the conditions. I didn’t miss many shots and the ones I did miss I managed to find the edge of the green or edge of the fairway, it was just solid all day.
“I changed to Callaway earlier in the year, earlier in the season and it’s been great to find a good level of consistency with my bag and my clubs. I haven’t changed anything in a while now so I have settled in a little bit.
“As for the game, I’ve been focussing on the same stuff as I did last year, really focussing on my mid-irons, my putting from inside six feet and trying to his as many fairways as I can which encompasses the whole game.
“But I was very inconsistent last year and took a good look at myself. Me and my team drew up a plan and it’s starting to take a bit of form now and show some results.
“It’s very trying, I can’t remember the last time I played in conditions this cold. Maybe the Dunhill Links but even there it’s maybe not as bad. It just depends on how hard the wind is blowing, early in the morning it was cold but there was no breeze.
“As soon as the breeze picks up it seems to cut through you like a knife and I was struggling feeling my fingers at one point. It’s not easy, very difficult conditions but we found a way and just trudge on and I managed to get through it nicely so I’m very happy.