Carlos de Corral produced some of the best golf of his career to build a three shot lead at the Open de Toulouse, the Spaniard’s opening rounds of 65-66 being inspired by his performance at Stage One of The European Tour Qualifying School last week.
De Corral came through Stage One at Moliets Golf Club in France, and continued his excellent form in France at the 6,801 yard, par 72 Golf de Toulouse-Palmola with a flawless second round 67.
Five birdies and no dropped shots took de Corral three shots clear of overnight leader Marc Cayeux of Zimbabwe, who had a second day 71 and was joined in second place by another 2004 Challenge Tour winner, Fredrik Henge of Sweden, who posted a pair of 68s to get to eight under par 136.
“I have played some of the best golf of my life over the past two days,” confirmed de Corral. “I have brought a lot of confidence to my game after getting through the first Stage of the Qualifying Scholl at Moliets last week, and hopefully I can continue to play like this over the weekend.”
De Corral is currently 156th on the Challenge Tour Rankings, and victory here in Toulouse would give him a chance to make the Bouygues Telecom Grand Final in four weekes time, when the top 45 Challenge Tour players will return to France to do battle for the top 15 places on the Rankings, and a place on the 2005 European Tour International Schedule.
“I need to have a good finish this week to make sure that I can play more on the Challenge Tour next season. I will not play very often if I remain in 156th place, but if I get some good results in the next few tournaments I could earn enough money to make the Grand Final.”
De Corral will meet stiff resistance in his bid to succeed Scotsman Scott Drummond as the Open de Toulouse champion, with Cayeux and Henge both determined to break back into the top 15 after falling out of the Challenge Tour’s elite recently.
Cayeux, who won the Kenya Open this year, and Henge, the JJB North West Challenge champion, both need one more victory to secure places on The European Tour next year.
Likewise Englishman Graeme Storm. The 26 year old Ryder Cup Wales Challenge champion is lying one behind Cayeux and Henge on seven under 137, with Spain’s Gabriel Canizares, Frenchman Cedric Menut and Lee Slattery of England just a shot further back on six under.