Past champion Jordan Smith will take a two-stroke lead into the weekend of the Porsche European Open as he bids to win this tournament for the second time in five years.
The Englishman carded a four under par round of 68 on the notoriously difficult Porsche Nord Course, carding five birdies and dropping just one stroke on the par four third hole.
The 2016 European Challenge Tour Number One captured his maiden DP World Tour title at this event during his rookie season in 2017 when he defeated Alex Levy in a play-off at Green Eagle Golf Courses.
Currently ranked 13th on the DP World Tour Rankings in Partnership with Rolex, the 29-year-old has six top 20 finishes in ten starts in 2022, including runner-up results at the Ras Al Khaimah Championship presented by Phoenix Capital and MyGolfLife Open hosted by Pecanwood.
Chasing Smith is Frenchman Victor Perez, who is bidding to become the first back-to-back winner on the DP World Tour since Justin Rose in 2018. Perez, who won his second title at the Dutch Open last week, carded a one under 71 to sit in solo second place.
Sharing third after two rounds on three under par are Julien Brun of France, Sweden’s Joakim Lagergren and Niklas Nørgaard Møller. Li Haotong of China and Frenchman Julien Guerrier are a stroke further back on two under par.
Jordan Smith: “I scrambled unbelievably well. On the back nine I was getting up-and-down on most of the holes and took the chances when I had them. I’m really happy with how things have gone. Wednesday in the Pro Am was probably the worst I’d hit it in a long time. To get through these two rounds and be six under, I’m really happy.
“I was saying to the lads yesterday that’s probably the longest I’ve ever seen that course play. It was going nowhere, it was soft and you weren’t getting any run. You were hitting a lot of long irons and mid irons into par fours, it was playing really, really hard. Today the ball was going a lot further, being warmer. The wind was a bit swirly, but that is the main battle. You have to take your chances when you’ve got them and keep doubles off your card.”
Victor Perez: “I’m very pleased again. I thought the course played very difficult. The pins were harder than yesterday, there was less wind but sometimes it’s still just as difficult. When the pin is in a tough spot it’s difficult to visualise your shot and hard to get the ball close. I was just lucky to get two birdies at the end to spring the day and make it nice. It was difficult to score.
“I’m just trying to ride (last week’s win) as much as possible. I think we try to use those moments as players, when things go your way you hit shots and it feels easy, you try not to play quickly, which is not a bad thing for me, and you just get on with it. There’s a lot of golf left. It’s a long weekend, I think it’s supposed to be the same weather, nice and not very windy. I expect the Tour to set the course as difficult as they can to control the score.”
Joakim Lagergren: “I really had it going there on the front nine – my back nine. I was minus eight at one point then I struggled a little bit with the putting on my last five or six holes. I finished with three three putts on the last six holes. That doesn’t feel very good at the moment, but it’s a tough course so plus two isn’t the end of the world.
“There are definitely more chances on the back nine, but I wouldn’t call it an easy nine. If you’re hitting it well you’ll get more chances. It’s a bit easier on the back nine because you’re going in with shorter clubs and it’s easier to get it close. It’s more important to hit fairways on the front nine because hitting in from the rough with long irons is quite tough.”