Rafa Cabrera Bello and Adri Arnaus led the way as home talent dominated the top of the Open de Espana leaderboard at the end of day two in Madrid.
None of the early starters caused overnight leader Kristian Krogh Johannessen to worry, but the Norwegian proved to be his own worst enemy in the afternoon when shooting a two-over-par 73, a hefty 10 strokes worse than his Thursday score at the Club de Campo Villa.
Taking full advantage was Cabrera Bello, whose six-under-par 65 took him to 11 under overall and ensured he completed the opening 36 holes of a European Tour event without a bogey for the first time. A long-range putt on the par-three ninth after missing the green proved vital in that respect.
Defending champion Jon Rahm remained very much in the hunt, recovering well after a double bogey on the second to card a 67 and sit just two shots off the pace in fourth.
Arnaus – a European Tour rookie – had looked destined to lead at the end of the day, only for a bogey at the last hole to force him to settle for a 66 and a share of first place with Cabrera Bello.
Another Spaniard, Samuel Del Val, had a 65 to reach 10 under and hold down third place going into the weekend.
15 under combined today
— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) October 4, 2019
With Rahm, Arnaus and Cabrera Bello all in the running near the top, the latter said he relished such domination on home soil.
“Yesterday [Thursday] was like a dream day and it was the same again,” Cabrera Bello said. “I think we are 31 under for the three of us, which is remarkable.
“We’ve been feeding off each other, and with thousands of people cheering us on, it’s been amazing.”
Arnaus added: “I’m really proud of how I played these first two rounds, I enjoyed it so much with this home support and also playing alongside Rahm and Rafa – it’s been two fantastic days.”
One of the most prominent Spaniards in action, Sergio Garcia, was way off the lead on four under for the tournament, matching Italy’s Edoardo Molinari, with both players having carded consecutive rounds of 69.