Spain’s Carl Suneson crafted an outstanding second round of four under par 69 in some tough, windy conditions at the Vale Hotel and Spa Resort to take a three shot lead into the last two rounds of the FIRSTPLUS Wales Challenge.
Suneson leads Englishman Iain Pyman by three strokes, with Denmark’s John Davies a further stroke back and Sweden’s Magnus A Carlsson and England’s Paul Streeter tied in fourth place on level par.
Pyman was the first of the leading players in the clubhouse, carding a second round of two under 71, that included the disappointment of dropping two shots at the Vale’s extremely difficult 17th and 18th holes.
Up until then, Pyman had performed with distinction, cancelling out two dropped shots at the start of his round with four birdies and an eagle before he was punished at the end of his round.
Suneson, who won the Challenge Tour Rankings in 1999, started his second round poorly with two dropped shots in his opening four holes but soon made amends as he tuned into his game and put on an excellent display.
The 37 old year old from Gran Canaria picked up six birdies in his closing 13 holes, and afterwards credited the work he has been doing with his coach, Jason Floyd, for a return to the kind of form that saw him win three Challenge Tour titles en route to topping the Rankings in 1999.
He said: “I started badly today – it just felt a little bit dead, and then I dropped two shots on third and fourth which woke me up quickly enough and made me realise that I had to start concentrating fully and after that I started to play well. I finished very strongly today as well and that was the most pleasing thing for me because I had a terrible finish yesterday.
“I feel like I am starting to really get my game back now and a big part of that is the work that I have been doing with my coach, Jason Floyd. The help he has given me is unbelievable and he has seen a lot of technical faults in my swing that many of the other coaches that I have worked might not have spotted.
“He puts a lot of aggression into his coaching and is on top of you all the time. Even if I hit a great shot but he thinks there was something wrong in the swing, he will not let it go just because I have hit a good shot, and I think that he is good for me.
“Part of the reason I have had three bad years on tour is because I didn’t have someone like that to work with. You have to believe totally in your golf swing to be able to go out there and perform because as soon as you start to get any doubts in your head then you can start to hit some horrendous golf shots.
“And we all know that as soon as you hit any shots like that then the doubts come into your head and the confidence starts to slide away. When that happens, you can forget about competing at any sort of high level.
“Jason has done a lot for me, and I think that you need a good team around to be successful in this game. Guys like Darren Clarke and Tiger Woods are not alone. All the top players have good coaches and psychologists around them and you have to have a good team around you. If you can find that team then you are going to have a better chance.”
Given the way he has performed over the first two rounds, it will take a great effort to overhaul Suneson over the final 36 holes at the Vale.
Sixty three players – including Welsh 16 year old Amateur Zach Gould – made the halfway cut of six over par 152.