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Lee Slattery stalks leader Mikael Lundberg at Lyoness Open

Updated: Friday, 06 Jun 2014 21:07 | Comments

Lee Slattery trails by a shot at Diamond Country Club
Lee Slattery trails by a shot at Diamond Country Club

England's Lee Slattery shrugged off a shoulder injury caused by a soft pillow to move into contention for a second European Tour title in the Lyoness Open on Friday.

Slattery, 35, carded an eagle, five birdies and one bogey to return an impressive 66 at Diamond Country Club and lie just one shot behind playing partner Mikael Lundberg, who added a 68 to his opening 67.

"The bed this week is quite hard, which I usually like, but the pillow's soft, which I'm not so keen on," said Slattery, who won the Madrid Masters in 2011.

"When I got out of bed this morning I did a few stretches and felt something tweak in my shoulder.

"It felt a bit sore, then it got progressively worse and on the way in on the bus I wasn't even sure whether or not I'd actually be able to play today.

"But I went to see the physio as soon as I got to the course and he managed to loosen it up for me. He did a great job on it, so I owe him a thanks."

Lundberg, whose previous wins came in the Russian Open in 2005 and 2008, parred the first two holes but then birdied the next four in succession to move into a four-shot lead.

The 40-year-old from Helsingborg, who failed to record a single top-10 finish last season and had to regain his card for the third successive year at the qualifying school, dropped his first shot of the day after a clumsy chip on the eighth.

And although he holed from 30 feet for birdie on the 12th, that proved to be his last one of the day as he missed from three feet on the next.

"The greens were slightly softer at the start of the round, so that made life a little bit easier for us," Lundberg said.

"I hit a lot of good shots early on and managed to make some putts, so that got my confidence up.

"It's a nice feeling when you get your distance control right with your wedges because it takes a lot of pressure off your putting.

"But it got tougher and tougher the longer the round went on because the course got really firm and fast towards the end. So whilst it may look and feel easy, it never is.

"I've been doing some great work with my new coach, Neil Jordan, over the last few weeks, and my game is feeling a lot more solid as a result.

"So while I didn't maybe expect to play this well here, it's not a complete shock to me either."

Paraguay's Fabrizio Zanotti is two off the pace on seven under after a 68, with Korea's Sihwan Kim six under after also shooting 68 and defending champion Joost Luiten another stroke back following a flawless 67.

"I'm very happy with five under," the 28-year-old Ryder Cup hopeful said.

"I made some nice saves for par and that's what you have to do around this course.

"You are going to be out of position sometimes and you have to play smart and try to save par.

"I am right back in there and that was the goal today, to try to make some ground on the leaders. We will see what happens and we have still 36 holes to go."

Home favourite Bernd Wiesberger, who needs to win to secure his place in the US Open next week - second place might also be good enough depending on results elsewhere - is six off the pace after a round of 70 marred by a three-putt bogey on the last.

Donegal’s Ruaidhri McGee leads the Irish contingent in Atzenbrugg on one under after a round of 70.

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