Peter Hanson, Ivo Giner and Paolo Terreni share the halfway lead of 13 under par 131 at the Golf Club Padova Terme Euganee International Open as the European Challenge Tour players continued their record breaking season.
With half the field waiting until day two to complete their first round scores due to rain storms on Thursday, the early starters on day two finished off their opening rounds and brought the number of players under par after round one to a magic 100 – beating the previous record of 96 at the Telia Grand Prix in 2001.
Those delays meant a two hour set back to the start of the second round, but Hanson, Giner and Terreni were unperturbed and the Swede, the Spaniard and Italian respectively shot 67, 68 and 67 to share top spot on the leaderboard.
Terreni, who finished his first 18 holes in eight under 64 this morning before firing a second round 67, had missed the last five Challenge Tour cuts in a row before this weekend, but found the solution in his homeland. It was simply a tale of two putters!
“I’m playing with a lot more confidence this week and it’s down to one thing – I changed my putter just two days ago and my new one is working really well for me,” he said.
“I had missed the last five cuts on the Challenge Tour but have been playing quite well. Two of the cuts I missed I finished after 36 holes on three under par, so I knew my game was in good shape. It was just a case of trying to get more putts to drop.
“So I thought to myself that I should give a new putter a try. When I got the new one I wasn’t sure because when I stood over the first few putts with it in my hand I was actually afraid of what was going to happen! But that feeling goes away very quickly once you see the ball dropping into the hole more often.”
Hanson hit 18 greens in regulation and continued his textbook form that has seen him finish outside the top ten in just one of his last seven Challenge Tour events. His dropped shot on the 15th was his second bogey in 102 holes of tournament play but spurred him on to birdie the closing three holes and return a 67.
He said: “I played better today than I did yesterday – it was just the putter that wasn’t as good today. But I’m really happy with the way I played today, it was real textbook golf.
“I hit all 18 greens in regulation – in fact I was on three out of the four par fives in two and also drove the 18th green. I played the par fives in four under par and was just really steady all day.”
Giner is also at the top of his game. He followed up his victory in the Open des Volcans Challenge de France with a joint eighth finish in the Kitzbühel Golf Alpin Open last week and is delighted to be back in contention for the third week running.
“I’m happy to be in amongst the leaders again,” said the Spaniard. “I had a couple of bad breaks this afternoon. I double bogeyed the fifth but it was actually a good shot that I hit believe it or not – just the wrong club and even then it was unlucky because it went out of bounds by about two inches.
“The on the eighth I hit another good iron shot that kicked about six feet on landing and ended up off the green and I didn’t manage to get up and down. But apart from that I’m pleased with the way things are going.
“I finished my first round this morning and ended up with a 63 which was great. The main difference this afternoon was that the putts didn’t drop as easily but I finished well again, birdieing 14, 16 and 17 so I feel good.”
The three leaders are one ahead of Juan Abbate, Gianluca Barrufaldi, Martin Erlandsson and Rafael Gomez, with another five players two shots back on 11 under par.
The cut of six under equals the all time Challenge Tour low – also set at the 2001 Telia Grand Prix.
A total of 53 players will battle it out over the weekend, with both the players and Challenge Tour officials agreeing on a two tee, early morning start in groups of three to avoid playing in the intense afternoon heat.