Christiaan Bezuidenhout hits out of a bunker during the second round of the Andalucia Masters on Friday. Photo: A.Carrasco Ragel/EPA

SOTOGRANDE – South African Christiaan Bezuidenhout led the Andalucia Masters by four strokes after a second-round 68 compiled in testing conditions at Valderrama on Friday.

Lying one shot adrift of overnight leader Victor Perez, the 24-year-old followed up his first-round 66 to move to eight-under-par going into the weekend.

“A course like this, you can score from the fairways, and if you don’t hit the fairways, you’re going to struggle. I prefer the tougher conditions.

“You’ve just got to face it, and I’m just going to do the same over the weekend,” he said.

Bezuidenhout has two runners-up finishes on the European Tour, but is still searching for that first win after claiming third at last week’s BMW International Open.

Tournament host Sergio Garcia added a one-over 72 to his 66 to share second, four shots behind, alongside Welshman Bradley Dredge and his Spanish compatriots Adri Arnaus and Alvaro Quiros.

Garcia is bidding for a fourth title at Valderrama after winning the Andalucia Masters the last three times it was staged at the course in 2011, 2017 and 2018.

“I wouldn’t say it was a bad round, it was very difficult this afternoon,” said the 39-year-old.

Perez was unable to reproduce his opening-day 65, the Frenchman signing for a 73 to join a group of five at three-under.