Switzerland’s Julien Clément moved to the top of the Kazakhstan Open leaderboard with a performance of calculated aggression at the Nurtau Golf Club in Almaty to record a second round score of seven under par 65 and take a one shot lead from first round leader Sam Osborne of England at the €250,000 European Challenge Tour event.
Clément has yet to drop a stroke in Kazakhstan and he produced some flawless golf en route to his second round 65, picking up birdies at the first, second and eighth holes to turn in 33 before picking up further strokes on the tenth, 13th, 15th and 17th.
The 24 year old Swiss’s strategy certainly paid off, with five of his seven birdies coming on the Nurtau Golf Club’s par fives. His excellent display saw him take a one stroke lead from Osborne, who added a three under par 69 to his opening 64.
Two behind Osborne are the Irish duo of Stephen Browne and David Higgins, who share third place with Scotsman Peter Whiteford. Another Scot, David Patrick, is in fourth place on eight under par alongside the Spanish pair of Ivo Giner and Carl Suneson as well as the Swede Steven Jeppesen.
Clément is the man to catch, however, which will be a tough job if he continues to produce bogey free golf over the next two rounds.
“I went out there today with the strategy of being aggressive on the par fives and then playing conservatively on the other holes,” said Clément. “I haven’t made a bogey yet this week and my putting was good as well so I am pleased with how I played and I think I can say that the strategy has worked for me.
“Obviously it is pleasing to be in the lead at the moment but there is a long way to go with two rounds left to play. I have been in the lead after three rounds before and didn’t mange to get the victory in an event like this but I am hoping that I can use that experience this weekend.”
Osborne, meanwhile, will not even give a thought to this week’s top prize of €40,000 until the final scorecards have been signed on Sunday afternoon.
The 24 year old made a disappointing start to his second round with a bogey at the first and then a double bogey on the third, but quickly recovered with birdies on the fourth, eighth and tenth before picking up a further three shots on his way back to the clubhouse to move back into the hunt for his maiden professional victory.
“I’m looking forward to getting out there tomorrow and playing in the last group of the day said the Englishman. I haven’t really been in that position since turning pro but I have done that in the Amateur game and I can’t imagine the mentality will be all that different.
“I’m not one for looking too far ahead and about all the possibilities that can happen over the weekend, be it on the Rankings or how much money I am going to win. I don’t think that helps anyone’s game to be honest – if you start getting ahead of yourself then golfers at all levels tend to mess things up in some way.”