Newport, Wales – Ross Fisher bogeyed his first hole Friday, but not much else went wrong for the Englishman as he jumped into the lead after two rounds of the Wales Open.
Fisher fired a five-under 66 to move to six-under par 136. He holds a two- stroke advantage over first-round leader Lee Slattery, who remained at minus- four after carding a 71 at Celtic Manor.
Two years ago at the same course, Fisher helped the European team to a Ryder Cup victory. Now he's alone in first place heading into the weekend, chasing his fifth tour win.
Fabrizio Zanotti (69), Thongchai Jaidee (68) and Chris Wood (67) share third place at three-under 139.
Because of logistics, players begin on the first and 11th tees for the first two rounds, and the set up initially didn't treat Fisher very well Friday. He needed six shots to get past the 11th, and was stuck at even-par through the following three holes.
But he started rising up the leaderboard with a birdie at 15, then made another at 18 to turn at two-under. Fisher then drained back-to-back birdies at two and three, where his familiarity with the course provided a benefit.
"There are certain spots that you think, yeah, the pin was there in The Ryder Cup, or I hit it here and holed this putt, or hit that shot from here," Fisher said. "You do try and remember those memories, and feed them into a positive outcome for this week."
Fisher ended his round with two more birdies to reach six-under and separate himself from the field.
Slattery began his round at the first tee and played poorly through his first eight holes, which included three bogeys and no birdies. But he birdied the ninth to reach two-under par heading around the turn, then made up the other two lost strokes with an eagle at 11.
He birdied 13, then followed with bogeys at two of the next three holes. However, a birdie at his last ended the tumultuous round and got him back to minus-four.
"The swing certainly didn't feel as good as yesterday," Slattery said. "I hit a lot of shots left but just managed to bounce back well."
The three players tied for third teed off from the 11th in successive groups.
Zanotti had three bogeys and a birdie in his first six holes to go over par for the tournament, but ran off three straight birdies from the 18th to get back into contention.
He then birdied four and five -- both par fours -- to reach four-under, but bogeyed his last.
In the next threesome, Jaidee put together a mostly clean round during which he hit 15 greens in regulation and stumbled to only one bogey.
Wood was sitting at plus-two following a bogey at 17, but drained five birdies on his front 10.
Tim Sluiter began Friday at minus-three, but shot one-over 72 to drop into sixth place by himself.
NOTES: Defending champion Alexander Noren withdrew on Friday, along with Robert-Jan Derksen, Richard Finch, Jamie Donaldson, Gary Boyd and Shane Lowry...Richard Johnson was disqualified...The 36-hole cut fell at five-over 147. Among those to miss the cut were Edoardo Molinari (148), a member of the 2010 Ryder Cup European team, and Jose Maria Olazabal (151), who is this year's captain.