Richard Bland leads BMW Italian Open

Richard Bland birdied the last three holes of his second round to snatch the halfway lead at the BMW Italian Open presented by CartaSi.

The 39 year old Englishman is yet to win on The European Tour, but now has a fantastic chance to break his duck at Royal Park I Roveri after a six under par 66 took him to 12 under in Turin.

That is one stroke ahead of France's Grégory Bourdy, Spaniard Gonzalo Fernandez-Castaño, South Africa's Garth Mulroy and Scot Marc Warren.

As well as trying to secure a first title, Bland is also in need of a good week to retain his place on The European Tour for 2013. He currently lies 126th in The Race to Dubai, with only the top 115 keeping their cards.

"I've had a tough couple of years, but that's behind me now and I'm just trying to move forward and improve every day," said Bland, who retained his playing privileges for this season at the 2011 Qualifying School.

"When it wasn't going my way on the front nine, I didn't panic. I knew there were chances out there and it was just a question of waiting. I don't go for the panic button which I might've done five or six years ago.

"There are still 36 holes to go - all it is right now is a great position. There are great players behind me and it's low scoring. I'll probably have to shoot ten under from here, but that's a good thing. You've got to keep making birdies, you have to keep your foot on the accelerator."

Having birdied the first Bland could have become frustrated on a day of low scoring when he parred the next nine, but after gains at the 11th and 14th, an approach to six feet at the 16th sparked his tremendous finish.

"It was a strange day because I birdied the first then struggled to get anything going," he added. "I missed a couple of chances and struggled to get the pace of the greens."

Ryder Cup-bound Nicolas Colsaerts, Martin Kaymer and Francesco Molinari all made it through to the weekend, reaching six, eight and seven under par respectively.

None of the four Australians in the field made the cut. Andrew Dodt and David McKenzie were the best finishing at 1 under for the 36 holes and three shots from the winner.

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