Charl Schwartzel’s 66 earns share of Porsche lead

Charl Schwartzel dropped just one shot in 36 holes. Picture: Stuart Franklin
Charl Schwartzel dropped just one shot in 36 holes. Picture: Stuart Franklin
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Former Masters champion Charl Schwartzel carded a second consecutive 66 to claim a share of the halfway lead in the Porsche European Open.

Schwartzel, who began the day two strokes behind overnight leaders Bernd Wiesberger and Benjamin Hebert, fired five birdies and no bogeys at Golf Resort Bad Griesbach and has dropped just one shot in the first 36 holes.

The South African was joined at the top of the leaderboard by English duo Graeme Storm and Ross Fisher, Storm adding a 67 to his opening 65 and Fisher shooting the same scores in reverse.

After starting from the tenth and covering the back nine in 35, Schwartzel birdied four of his next eight holes but was particularly pleased to chip in for par on the second. He said: “I can chip, that’s not my problem, but things like that are what you need when you are going to have a good tournament and compete. It keeps the momentum going.

“I didn’t miss any shots until that point and to be fair I didn’t hit a bad shot there either, but got a bad lie and looked like I would make bogey. Those things keep your round together.

“It’s nice to play some consistent golf. I’ve been feeling like I’m going to play well for a while, knocking on the door, but not had the momentum go my way. This time around I’ve kept it together nicely. I’ve hit lots of greens, given myself lots of opportunities and made a few putts, which helps.

“It’s a nice position to be in. It’s nice to finally play some good golf. There’s a long way to go, but if I can keep testing myself and do the same thing, hopefully it will hold up.”

Storm’s round was also aided by a chip-in, in his case for an eagle on the tenth as the former British Amateur champion battles to keep his card for the second year running.

“I’m really happy to shoot four under today. I didn’t feel I was swinging it that great,” said Storm, who began the week 127th on the Race to Dubai. “I got round and made a few putts and I had a chip in on the tenth for eagle, which always helps.”

BMW PGA Championship winner Byeong Hun An played his last 13 holes in seven under par to card a 65 and lie just one off the lead on nine under, alongside England’s Richard McEvoy. But former US Open champion Graeme McDowell arguably produced the shot of the day, holing out from 100 yards on the 13th for a par after twice tangling with heavy rough.

McDowell added a 70 to his opening 68 to finish four under par, just one shot inside the cut line on another day of low scoring that nevertheless saw overnight leader Wiesberger miss the cut after a 76.

Meanwhile, Ladies European Tour rookie Emily Kristine Pedersen carded a superb 64 to claim the halfway lead in the Lacoste Ladies Open de France.

The 19-year-old from Denmark carded six birdies, an eagle and two bogeys to finish nine under par at Golf de Chantaco, three shots ahead of France’s Celine Herbin, with fellow Dane Malene Jorgensen and first-round leader Gwladys Nocera another two shots back.

England’s Charley Hull added a 69 to her opening 68 to lie six off the pace alongside Scottish pair Pamela Pretswell and 
Carly Booth, who shot 68 and 66 respectively.