Huge crowds flocked to the capital as Club de Campo Villa de Madrid hosted the event for the first time in 23 years and they were not disappointed as Arnaus and Cabrera Bello moved to 11 under to lead the way.
Cabrera Bello may have three wins including a Rolex Series title and a Ryder Cup appearance to his name but he achieved a first on the European Tour in Madrid, playing his opening 36 holes bogey free.
“You don’t get to go bogey free very often and two days in a row – I’m not sure how many times I’ve done that,” he said. I’m very pleased with how I’m playing, I’m feeling confident out there and in control of my game.
“Yesterday was a dream day, and today we had it again, I think we’re minus 31 for the three of us, which is remarkable. We’re feeding off each other and off the crowd. Bouncing off each other, it’s amazing.”
Arnaus is playing his rookie European Tour season after graduating from the European Challenge Tour and a maiden victory at his home open would come after three second place finishes on the 2019 Race to Dubai.
“I’m really proud of how I’ve played these first two rounds,” he said. “I’ve enjoyed it so much with the support of the crowds from home and also playing with Rahm and Rafa, it has been two fantastic days.
“You’re always a little bit nervous but at the end it’s just going out there and playing your best golf and hopefully we can have some good rounds and on Sunday we’ll see how it turns out.”
Nobody from the morning wave could get any closer to overnight leader Kristian Krogh Johannessen’s eight under 18 hole total but the lead was trimmed when the Qualifying School graduate bogeyed the first.
Arnaus had made an early bogey of his own on the second but he responded in stunning style, making a hat-trick of gains from the fourth to catapult himself into the lead.
A birdie on the second had seen Cabrera Bello make a move and he followed a two putt birdie on the par five seventh with an approach to tap-in range on the next to sit alongside his countryman.
He missed the green at the par three ninth and did well to save par with the putter from a long way out, but Arnaus had hit a beautiful tee shot and moved into the solo lead.
The 24-year-old left himself a lot more work to do on the next but holed monster to get to double figures before Cabrera Bello followed him in from ten feet and the leading duo were pulling away.
Cabrera Bello missed good birdie chances on the 12th and 13th – the latter after a remarkable second from the trees – and found himself three back as Arnaus hit the 14th green in two and holed a 15 foot left to righter for an eagle.
An up-and-down from the sand meant Cabrera Bello quickly cut the gap to two and an approach to inside ten feet at the 16th meant it was just one.
The 2016 Ryder Cup star stayed bogey free for 36 holes as he parred his way home but Arnaus needed three attempts to get down from just off the final green and the lead was tied.
Rahm was the third member of the marquee group and after a double bogey on the second, the four time European Tour winner sandwiched birdies on the par five fourth and seventh with a 12 foot putt at the sixth.
He then made three birdies in a row as he sandwiched a gain on the par five 14th with efforts from nine and ten feet and, while he bogeyed the next, a closing gain had him within one.
Del Val is playing just his fifth European Tour event – all on home soil – and he looked right at home as he birdied the 13th, 14th and 16th to turn in 32. A bogey on the first threatened to derail his progress but further gains on the third, fifth, sixth and seventh had the 32-year-old in double figures.
South African Zander Lombard was at eight under after a second consecutive 67, a shot clear of Finn Mikko Korhonen, Australian Jason Scrivener and German Marcel Siem.
Norway’s Johannessen, Italian Nino Bertasio, England’s Steven Brown, Swede Per Langfors and Spaniard Adrian Otaegui were five shots off the lead.
India’s S.S.P. Chowrasia makes the cut after shooting even-par-72 in the second round and placed at T44 at one-under-141 total. Gaganjeet Bhullar missed the cut with second round 78.