David Dixon, who sprung to prominence as an amateur in the Open Championship at Royal Lytham & St Annes in July, continued to grab the headlines as a professional when he moved into the lead in Stage One of the Qualifying School at Chart Hills.
The 24 year old, who won the Silver Medal as leading amateur in the Open when he finished in a tie for 30th place, showed similar form in the second round at the Kent venue, a sparkling 64 in demanding conditions seeing him move into pole position on eight under par 136.
Starting at the tenth hole, Dixon was quickly into his stride and birdies at the 12th, 14th and 16th were spectacular enough before he pitched in from 30 yards at the 18th to end his front nine in some considerable style. Turning for home, the Englishman’s assault on the Nick Faldo-designed course continued with gains at the first, second and fifth holes, before his birdie quest finally ended at the sixth hole thanks to a precision sand wedge approach which nestled a mere two feet from the pin.
“I actually lipped out at the last for a birdie but I can’t complain, I’m very pleased with that performance,” he said. “I played very solidly, didn’t make any mistakes and holed some nice putts – you can’t really ask for more than that. It just goes to show you what a funny game golf is,” he continued. “In the first round actually I didn’t play much worse than that but I only scored level par 72. Today I holed a few putts and look what happened – there is such a fine line between scoring averagely and really well.”
After his exploits at Royal Lytham & St Annes, Dixon admitted he was keen once again to sample golf at the highest level. “Obviously my goal is to try and earn my place on The European Tour for next year and I have given myself a good start – hopefully I can get through the next two days and then I’ll just take it from there.”
At Carden Park, another player who sampled glory at Royal Lytham & St Annes featured strongly, namely Welsh amateur Matthew Griffiths. The man from the Principality, who qualified for the Open Championship as an amateur before narrowly missing the cut, had a disappointing opening 73 but improved dramatically by nine shots in his second round, an excellent 64 seeing him move to three under par 137.
It left Griffiths two shots behind joint leaders, England’s Nick Dougherty and Welsh amateur Kyron Sullivan, Dougherty carding a 65 while Sullivan posted a 67 for a respective five under par total of 135.
But it proved an unsatisfactory day overall at the Cheshire venue, heavy rain bringing about an abandonment of play at 2.40pm with all the afternoon starters still out on the course. All players will return at 8.15am to complete their second round before the third round gets underway.
Three players, Joakim Kristiansson from Sweden, Italy's Roby Paolillo, and Welshman Mark Litton shared the lead after a wet and blustery day at the Essex resort. The trio are on six under par 138, a stroke clear of local man, Jon Bevan, who carded 68, joint best card of the day with Leicestershire's Jason Cayless, who is on level par 144.
After his opening 66 which gave him the first round lead, Kristiansson fired a workmanlike 72 with four birdies and said: "I didn't play that well but I'm satisified. A round of 72 was a good score today."
Paolillo, a former Italian amateur international, had five birdies in a 69, while Litton followed up his opening 68 with a three birdie 70.
Bevan, who has won the Sunderland of Scotland Masters and topped the East Region Order of Merit, started at the tenth and was out in 32. In the end he carded five birdies and dropped just one shot.
Cayless, 31, who was out in the morning in the frequent rain showers, birdied two of the last three holes for his 68. "It was much tougher today," he said. "But I played better than 76 yesterday. I missed a lot of short putts then but 68 puts me back in the tournament. I've qualified from Five Lakes for the past two years so let's hope it's third time lucky.".
Across the Channel two players continued to dominate the qualifying event at Moliets Golf Club near Biarritz, Frenchman Franck Lorenzo and Ivo Giner of Spain, who both posted their second consecutive 68 to lead the field by two shots on eight under par 136.
At the Wynyard Club in County Durham, it proved to be a tartan take over of the event as six players from the top nine at the halfway stage were from Scotland.
Former Amateur Championship runner-up Roger Beames led the way, his rounds of 69-72 giving him a share of pole position on one under par 141 with Argentina’s Sebastien Fernandez. Further down the leaderboard, Beames was joined by John Greaves, Mark Loftus, Mark King, Murray Urquhart and amateur Graham Gordon.