Stoneham's Richard Bland rocketed to the top of the leaderboard in the BMW Italian Open today.

The Southampton-based player leads the European Tour event at the halfway stage, having carded successive rounds of six-under-par.

Bland produced birdies at his final three holes this afternoon to take sole possession of first place.

He is one shot clear of a group of four players on 11-under-par.

Following his round, Bland said: "There's still 36 holes to go - all it is right now is a great position. There are great players behind me, it's low scoring, so two 70s isn't going to get it done.

"I'll probably have to shoot ten under from here, but that's a good thing. You've got to keep making birdies, you have to keep your foot on the accelerator."

He added: "I'm leading and I'm not going to complain, but I feel there's a lot of room of improvement. When you don't feel like you've got your A-game and you're 12 under and leading, it's fantastic. If I can get my swing clicked into place, it should be a good weekend."