SHANGHAI (AP) - Lucas Bjerregaard sank seven birdies to card a 6-under 66 in the second round of the BMW Masters and open up a three-stroke lead on Friday.
The Dane trailed overnight leader Sergio Garcia for much of the day before surging into the lead with three birdies in his last four holes.
Garcia, meanwhile, ran into trouble on his back nine on a cold, blustery day at Lake Malaren Golf Club. He bogeyed No. 12 and hit into the water on No. 13 for a double bogey, falling four strokes back.
The Spaniard recovered to shoot a 71 and tie for second place at 9 under with Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee (68).
Ian Poulter (68), Paul Casey (69) and An Byeong-hun (71) were another stroke back in joint fourth, while Peter Uihlein (66) sank seven straight birdies to jump into a tie for seventh place at 7 under with Ross Fisher (71).
Bjerregaard has been closing in on a maiden victory on the European Tour over the past few months. He has four top-10 finishes since September, including a runner-up finish at the Hong Kong Open last month, when he was beaten by Justin Rose by one stroke.
It was a much better finish than he had at the Alfred Dunhill Championship in South Africa last December when he played in the final group on Sunday but collapsed with a 17-over 89 in the final round.
“It was nice in Hong Kong to prove to myself and prove to everyone else that I can still compete up there, so hopefully I can do that again this week and just come up one place better than last time,” he said.
Bjerregaard has shot below 70 in 12 of his last 13 rounds dating to mid-October, going a combined 47 under.
On Friday, he was simply trying to keep pace with playing partner Uihlein, who began his birdie spree on the par-5 15th hole and racked up seven in a row to climb into contention. The American narrowly missed matching the European Tour record for consecutive birdies with an eighth on the par-3 4th hole, but slid his 20-foot par putt just to the right of the cup.
“I was cheering him on,” Bjerregaard said. “He just missed out by an inch for his eighth and I was really hoping that would go in.”
Uihlein started the day in a tie for 48th place but was suddenly just five strokes off the pace going into the weekend.
“It was weird. I was level-par going into 15, 1 over for the day, and I felt like I played 24 holes really, really well,” he said. “I felt like there was going to be a surge coming and I didn’t know it would be seven in a row, but I’m pleased it was.”
Garcia, who shot a 64 on Thursday, made three birdies in a blemish-free front nine to get to 11 under, but then dropped three shots on No. 12 and 13 to fall out of the lead.
His second shot on the par-5 15th found the bunker next to the green, but he made a nice recovery to birdie the hole and get a stroke back.
“If you didn’t hit the right shot at the right time you could pay. And I did a couple of times,” he said. “It feels like it should have been a little bit better, but it is what it is.”
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