Friday, 27 August 2004
Sweden’s Henrik Nystrom is using home advantage to great effect at the Skandia PGA Open at the Arlandastad Golf Club which is just 20 minutes from his house. The 35 year old is one shot clear of his fellow countryman – and the current European Challenge Tour Number Two – Leif Westerberg after round two.

Nystrom, who switched to a belly putter for this week’s tournament, carded a second round of one under 69 to supplement his opening 64 and post the leading halfway total of seven under 133.

One of the main reasons for that, according to Nystrom, is the fact that playing so close to home this week is helping him to stay relaxed and enjoy his game. As most golfers know, a relaxed attitude usually breeds positive results on the fairways.

Nystrom has certainly shown that during the opening two days of the Skandia PGA Open and hopes to continue that for the next two days as he looks to consolidate his outstanding consistency with his first victory of the 2004 Challenge Tour season.

“Being so close is really nice for me this week,” he confirmed. “I have been on the road for the past four weeks and to be able to go home and relax and be with the kids, then spend the night in my own bed is just great.

“I would say it is helping me out there and I am really looking forward to the weekend because playing tournaments is always a lot more fun when you are in contention.

“I played good again today and had a couple of mistakes but generally it was a good round. My putting with the belly putter was not as good as yesterday but I think that the pin positions were a lot tougher today.

“When you change styles of putters as I have this week you often find that you will putt great the first time you change and will start to think ‘Wow, this is it!’, but then that feeling mellows and it becomes more up and down.

“But with the belly putter I feel that the technique suits me better and it is great for judging distance on long putts.”

One man who drained a few long putts during round two was Sweden’s Kalle Brink, who carded the lowest score of the tournament so far – an outstanding seven under 63 to banish the memory of his opening 73 and move to four under par 136 alongside five other players.

One stroke ahead of that group is the English duo of Mathew King and Tom Whitehouse, who shot 71 and 67 respectively to share third place on five under, with Westerberg a further shot ahead.

With Challenge Tour Number One Alessandro Tadini of Italy missing from the Skandia PGA Open, Westerberg has the chance to close the gap at the top of the Rankings with a good weekend showing.

Likewise Nystrom, who is just four places behind Westerberg having won €53,728 and hopeful of securing the first victory of a consistent season that has yielded seven top ten finishes on the Challenge Tour Schedule.

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