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Bland jumps into Italian Open lead

Sept. 14, 2012 at 2:03 PM

TURIN, Italy, Sept. 14 (UPI) -- Richard Bland closed with three consecutive birdies Friday and has the lead halfway through the European Tour's BMW Italian Open.

Bland, one of the last players off Friday, opened with a birdie and posted nine consecutive pars before taking off. He had five birdies in his last eight holes, including on 16, 17 and 18. That gave him a second-straight 6-under-par 66 and a one-stroke lead on a group of four players.

Gregory Bourdy turned in the round of the day with a bogey-free 8-under 64 to get to 11-under after 36 holes. Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano and Marc Warren each shot 65 Friday and Garth Mulroy had a 67 and are tied with Bourdy for second.

Richard McEvoy (68 Friday) is along in sixth at 10-under but seven players, including first-round leader Joel Sjoholm (71) are lurking at 9-under.

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