South Africa's Christiaan Bezuidenhout will take a four-shot lead into the third round of the Andalucia Masters, but tournament host Sergio Garcia remains in contention for a fourth straight victory.
Bezuidenhout took advantage of the calmer morning conditions to add a 68 to his opening 66 to finish eight under par, with Garcia's 72 leaving him on four under alongside fellow Spaniards Alvaro Quiros and Adri Arnaus and Welshman Bradley Dredge.
"Most of all I just kept it in play nicely, which is the key thing here," Bezuidenhout said. "I'm driving it pretty well, so I was hitting quite a lot of fairways.
"A course like this you can score from the fairways and if you don't hit the fairways you're going to struggle. I prefer the tougher conditions, you've just got to face it and I'm just going to do the same over the weekend."
It was not a good for the Irish trio involved, with Paul Dunne +9, Michael Hoey +10 and Gavin Moynihan +13
Garcia first won the Andalucia Masters in 2011 before the tournament dropped off the European Tour schedule for five years, and his victories in 2017 and 2018 mean the 39-year-old has recorded an incredible 13 top-10
finishes in 14 appearances at Valderrama.
The former Masters champion carded three birdies and four bogeys in his 72 and said: "I wouldn't say it was a bad round, it was very difficult this afternoon.
"The greens were very firm, it got quite windy. I just didn't really make any putts, but I felt like I played well under the conditions and 72 was the most I could shoot."
World number 11 Jon Rahm also shot 72 to lie seven shots off the lead and was frustrated with his performance.
"It's just a lot of stupid mistakes, as simple as that. It's just annoying," Rahm said. "It's not like I'm playing bad and it was not that difficult this morning, I'm just leaving shots out there when I shouldn't and it's costing me getting a real low round going."