Marc Warren finds his form in quest to retain Tour card

Marc Warren boosted his bid to remain a European Tour card holder next season after producing some of his best golf in what has been a frustrating season for the Glaswegian in the opening two rounds of the KLM Open.
Scotland's Marc Warren. Picture: Jane Barlow 2015 {all rights reserved}
m: 07870 152324Scotland's Marc Warren. Picture: Jane Barlow 2015 {all rights reserved}
m: 07870 152324
Scotland's Marc Warren. Picture: Jane Barlow 2015 {all rights reserved} [email protected] m: 07870 152324

The 36-year-old, who is lying 175th in the Race to Dubai with just six events remaining during the regular phase of the European Tour campaign, is on course to be lying in the top 10 when the weather-affected event reaches the halfway stage at The Dutch in Spijk.

It follows Warren, who has been troubled by an injury he picked up in the opening half of the season, carding two encouraging efforts – 69 and 67 – for a six-under-par total, four behind Joel Stalter after the Frenchman set the clubhouse target as he backed up a first-round 65 with an equally-impressive 67.

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Warren, pictured, who finished as high as 25th in the Race to Dubai two years ago, made his first cut since March in last month’s Made in Denmark, claiming his best finish of the season in that event as he tied for 14th behind American Julian Suri.

The three-time European Tour winner then made early exits in both the Czech Masters and the European Masters, but time is still on Warren’s side in his bid to climb into the top 110 in the Race to Dubai and he will certainly have been boosted by making 11 birdies so far in this latest assignment.

As Lee Westwood moved into contention – the former world No 1 is just three behind Stalter after a flawless second-round 65 – Duncan Stewart was one behind Warren after covering his opening eight holes in five-under but had dropped a shot before play was suspended for the day.

Elsewhere, six Scots, including amateur trio Craig Ross, Liam Johnston and Craig Howie, safely negotiated opening tests in this season’s European Tour Qualifying School.

Producing a performance every bit as good as when winning on the PGA EuroPro Tour at Mar Hall in 2014, Kirkhill player Ross finished joint second in his event at Fleesensee in Germany.

The 24-year-old bagged eight birdies, including four in a row from the 13th, as he closed with a 67, ending up just a shot behind Finn Vei Jalainen with his nine-under-par 279 total.

Johnston and Howie, meanwhile, both progressed at The Roxburghe near Kelso, where Daniel Young led five Scots through as the Perth man closed with a 69 for a 277 total to finish in a share of third behind the runaway winner, Dane Rasmus Hjelm.

Johnston passed the test at the same venue for the second year in a row after signing off with a 66 to tie for fourth on 279, finishing alongside compatriot Ewen Ferguson (69). Howie’s closing 67 hoisted him into a share of eighth, while Ross Cameron also made the top 20 and ties after a 68 for 283.