The leadership of the Galeria Kaufhof Pokal Challenge remains in German hands, albeit different ones, after an eventful and breezy second round in Germany. The new leader is Tino Schuster, who carded a 68 for 133, 13 under par, to succeed the amateur Christian Reimbold, who unfortunately, slipped to a 78.
Schuster, a pro for less than a year after earning international honours for his country, leads by a stroke from another German, Wolfgang Huget, who made the best return of the day with 64, Federico Bisazza from Italy, who returned 66, and former England international Mark Hilton with 65.
Schuster, 22, from Stuttgart, has no fear of being a front-runner. Each time he has led a tournament at halfway, and he can mention three or four, he has gone on to win. He did it in the 1999 Lytham Trophy and in the German Amateur Championship, so he will relish being in front.
Huget had an eagle, eight birdies and just one dropped shot in his 64 to move up from joint 34th, while Bisazza also carded an eagle and seven birdies in his 66. Hilton, at 6ft 5in, probably the tallest player in the tournament, was another with an eagle plus seven birdies in his 65.
England’s Robert McGuirk, two behind overnight, added a 70 to his opening 65 for fifth place on 135, while another ex-England international, Ben Mason carved his way through the field with a 67 which included an eagle and six birdies. He is alongside Spain’s Raul Quiros, who returned 69.
Several players, who were in danger of missing the cut, found their form to move into challenging positions. France’s Sebastien Delagrange, current leader of the rankings, birdied his opening three holes from the 10th on his way to a 67 and safety on 138, while Italy’s Roberto Zappa added a 68 to an opening 72 for 140.
But perhaps the most astonishing recovery came from Irishman Francis Howley, who teed off on four over par and went round in a bogey-free 66 with seven birdies to survive on the 143 limit.
A total of 66 players on 143 or better, the largest cut total ever on the Challenge Tour, will battle out the final two rounds over the weekend. It includes Reimbold, the only amateur, who slipped to 141 after a 78, a tally that included just two birdies and three dropped shots at his final two holes.
In stark contrast to his opening round, he covered the back nine in 40 shots, 10 more than in round one.
Arguably the best shot of the day was performed by England’s Chris Gane, who holed a three wood from 228 yards for an albatross-two at the par five 7th. It gave him a 70 and survival on 140.