Spain’s Pablo Larrazabal carded a course-record 62 to claim a two-shot lead at the halfway stage of the KLM Open.
Larrazabal admitted shooting the first-ever 59 on the European Tour was in his mind when he birdied his first six holes on the par-70 layout at Kennemer Golf Club to be out in 28, and history was still possible after he followed four pars with another birdie.
However, the 31-year-old then recorded four more pars before finishing with two birdies and a bogey in the last three holes to finish ten under par, two ahead of France’s Romain Wattel and Italy’s Edoardo Molinari.
“I started very fast with birdies on the first six holes and then I tried just to play golf and put myself in position to make some more, but the round cooled down a little bit in the middle,” said Larrazabal, who won his third European Tour title in Abu Dhabi earlier this year.
“After starting with six birdies I was thinking it is a par 70, I only need five more. The middle of the round it cooled down but it was a great shot into the last to finish with a 62.
“I was aware of the 59 more than the course record. I thought about the 59 when I started with six birdies. I thought I only need five more to make the magic number, but maybe I put a bit more pressure on myself. I’ve got a few course records around Spain but none on the European Tour, so it is nice.
“It is tough to make birdies here but I putted great. I worked on Wednesday with my coach and my reading is a lot better – I’m making putts. I’m hitting the ball good, not as good as the past, but I’m making putts.”
Wattel carded six birdies and one bogey in his round of 65, with Molinari recording six birdies and two bogeys for a second successive 66.
American Peter Uihlein, Scotland’s Richie Ramsay and Dane Soren Hansen were two shots further back on six under, with defending champion Joost Luiten five under after adding a 70 to his opening 65. Uihlein missed seven straight cuts earlier in the year as he battled a back complaint, but showed his undoubted talent with an outward 29 before three bogeys on the way home stalled his charge.
“Any time under par on this course is good and I’m happy with that start,” said Uihlein, who won in Madeira last year. “I’m looking forward to the weekend.
“I got off to a quick start. There were a lot of positives to take today and I’m looking forward to the weekend – to shoot 29 on the front nine was cool.
“The form has been coming back. I’m driving it better; I didn’t drive it great on my second nine today as it was tough to get a rhythm.
“That’s the mindset I’m going with, hit a lot of drivers, chase it and see where it takes me.”