Mathew Morris put on a show of commanding consistency to take a two shot lead at the Nykredit Danish Open, and the Englishman is hoping to continue that form into the weekend and secure the first victory of this, his maiden season on the European Challenge Tour.
Morris supplemented his opening 67 with a three under par second round 68 at the Esbjerg Golfklub in Denmark to lead by two from English pair Gary Clark and Simon Dyson – as well as Sweden’s Fredrik Henge.
The 26 year old, who featured on the third level Euro Pro Tour in the UK last year before winning his Challenge Tour Membership at the 2003 European Tour Qualifying School, is confident that he can secure his first professional victory over his next 36 holes.
“I’m very pleased at the way I played today – I was pretty calm the whole way round and just concentrated on each shot and played my own game really,” said Morris.
“I got off to a wonderful start on the back nine where I was four under after five holes and made some nice putts to get into that position. Then, on the front nine, I made a bogey at the third and then sank a 40 foot putt on the eighth for birdie which felt great.
“I’m quite confident about my chances for the weekend. I have been in this position before, just not at this level – but I can see no reason to fear anything, I am in the lead here because I have played the best golf so far this week and if I can continue to play the way I have been then I know I have a great chance of winning.”
Dyson, a former Asian Tour Order of Merit winner who finished second at the European Tour’s BMW Asian Open in China last month, fired a bogey free round of six under par 65 to lie just two behind Morris.
Dyson, making only his second appearance of the season on the European Challenge Tour, found his form during the second round to register a five under par aggregate score of 137 and join Clark and Henge in a tie for second.
“It’s been a bit of a strange season for me,” said Dyson. “I did quite well in the Dubai Desert Classic and then cracked a bone in my arm which meant I had to rest for a few weeks. I came back for the Peugeot Challenge de Leon on the Challenge Tour where I finished 10th and then I had my second place in China, which has given me a lot of confidence.
“I’m glad that I have been able to continue that form here, and I feel that this tournament is good preparation for the weeks ahead. I’m playing in the Diageo Championship at Gleneagles next week and then the Aa St Omer Open, so it is nice to be swinging well at this stage of the season because there is a lot to play for.”
Clark and Henge, meanwhile, respectively fired second rounds of 67 and 69 – with the Englishman feeling that he could have scored better on his opening holes. He got into the groove at the par four ninth with a perfect drive and an exquisite nine iron that almost landed in the hole.
“I had a poor front nine to be honest with you,” he confessed. “I found the trees at the second and dropped a shot and then got lucky at the fifth to get a free drop from the edge of the tree line which allowed me to escape with a par.
“After that I gradually started to hit the ball well, and picked up a couple of shots on the front nine, in fact the ninth was probably the best hole I played all day. I hit a driver, then a nine iron to a foot for birdie and after that I was a lot more relaxed.
“I don’t know why, but I’ve been starting a lot of rounds quite poorly and then slowly relaxing into it. I don’t know what it is, but I could probably focus better at the start of the round.”
Italy’s Francesco Guermani and Magnus Persson Atlevi of Sweden are both in four under par, with five players bunched together a further shot behind in joint seventh place.
Guermani, who finished fifth in the last Challenge Tour event – the Tessali-Metaponto Open di Puglia e Basilicata – was delighted to continue his run of good form.
“I played very well today – I only missed four fairways all afternoon which is very good around this course because the fairways are very narrow,” said Guermani.
“As I said I am very pleased because I am continuing the good play that I started in Tessali three weeks ago at the last Challenge Tour event and I am hoping to continue like this for the rest of the weekend.”
The halfway cut was set at three over par, with 71 players set to play for the €137,500 prize fund.