Sam Horsfield moved into contention heading into the weekend at the Hero Open, a superb nine under 63 which included a hole-out eagle taking him to the top of the leaderboard alongside Spaniard Sebastián García Rodríguez.
The Englishman is looking to become the first home player since Lee Westwood in 1998 to win the event, which was formerly known as the English Open.
He got off to the perfect start on day two at Forest of Arden Marriott Golf and Country Club, opening with a birdie before holing his wedge approach from 110 yards at the fourth hole. Back to back birdies at the sixth and seventh had him five under at the turn and four birdies on the back nine moved him into a share of the lead on 13 under par.
First round leader García Rodríguez showed no signs of nerves after opening the tournament with a course record 62, as he picked up five birdies including one at the par three 18th hole en route to a three under second round 69.
The two leaders were three strokes clear of the nearest challenger, Belgium’s Thomas Detry, who carded a second successive 67 for a ten under total.
Sam Horsfield: “Holing a wedge from 110 yards on four was an obvious highlight! I just got on a bit of a roll, birdied the par five 12th, then holed a nice 20 footer on 15 and ended up with a nine under round.
“I was a little disappointed not to birdie the third, but then obviously to hole out eagle on four made up for that and set the day up. It was good fun.
“I’m just having fun, it’s nice to be playing tournament golf again, it’s been a while for everyone and I’m just thankful of that, to get some tournaments going. I’ve been looking forward to it for a while and I’m just enjoying it.
“It’s different out here, not the same as what we’re used to but it’s just the world that we’re living in at the moment and you’ve just got to make the most of. We have a great opportunity to come out here and play tournament golf and I’m thankful that the European Tour and everyone involved have been able to make that happen.
“It’s going to be fun. It’s been a minute since I’ve been in contention but looking back on my college days I know it’s going to be a lot of fun.”
Sebastián García Rodríguez: “Today the wind was tough, it was a lot windier and the pin positions were a little more complicated than yesterday. But today I played very solid from the tee which was the key to only two bogeys and keeping solid.
“The yesterday was the putter, today it was difficult with the irons to get it pin high because it was so windy, but I’m so happy with my round today.
“It was very important to birdie the last two holes. It was in my mind to his a good drive on 17, it wasn’t perfect but a good line. I had an eagle in my mind with an eight iron in my hands, but it was a little right so it was a good birdie.
“On 18 I played a seven iron and it was a perfect putt. I need to do the same now, go to the players’ lounge, eat some food and hit the gym, then come out tomorrow for the same.”
Thomas Detry: “It was quite windy at the start and the greens firmed up a little bit but I was three under after six holes and I didn’t birdie the par five seventh, which is almost a par four for us, and then went bogey-bogey with actually some great shots.
So it was actually alright, I made a good birdie on 10 that got me going again and I got some momentum and managed to finish five under which I’m very pleased with.
I actually played great last week, I really struggled on the greens, I seemed to find something on the greens this week. I’ve been hitting a lot of fairways, the driver is acting well so I’m looking forward to the next few days.