England’s David Dixon matched Denny Lucas’s first round of seven under par 65 to join his fellow countryman at the top of the European Challenge Tour’s Open de Toulouse leaderboard. Both men lead another Englishman, Matthew Morris, and Andres Romero of Argentina, by a single stroke with 36 holes to play at the Golf de Palmola.
With just three events remaining on the Challenge Tour Schedule and every player in the field having something to play for – be it a place in the all important top 20, the security of a place in the Apulia San Domenico Grand Final or their Challenge Tour status for next year, there are going to be some nervous golfers in Toulouse over the coming weekend.
Dixon and Lucas will be hotly pursued by closest challengers Romero and Morris, with a further ten players within four strokes of the lead and a lot of golf still to be played before the winner is decided on Sunday afternoon.
The relative ease with which Dixon negotiated the Golf de Palmola during round two was a direct contrast to the trails and tribulations he underwent during his opening 18 holes.
The 28 year old started his first round on the tenth tee and got to the ‘turn’ in four under par before embarking on a roller coaster second nine holes, that included an eagle, a birdie a bogey and a double bogey.
“Thursday was a bit different all right!” he laughed. “I got off to a great start and was thinking that I was flying after nine holes but then things got a bit silly for a while on the front nine.
“I made a bogey after going out of bounds on the par five then shanked one into the trees on the next. I then hit out of the trees on one side of the fairway into the trees on the other side of the fairway which was funny but not so funny if you know what I mean.
“Then I made a brilliant eagle, three putted the next or a bogey and then made another birdie. It was must one of those silly days but you can’t get too upset about things like that in golf because as we all know, the more you lose it the worse you play.
“It was pretty a lot more steady out there today, was one of those days where everything seemed quite easy which is something that I haven’t felt for a while to be honest.
“I have had quite a poor season by all accounts and just haven’t been putting the scores together which is something that you just cannot afford to do out on the Challenge Tour because the scoring is so low week in, week out. You have to be sharp if you are going to do well out here and I haven’t been that way this season.”
Lucas, at 23rd in the Rankings, has been sharp all year and continued his rich vein of form with a second round 69 to join Dixon atop the leaderboard.
The 28 year old got his second round off to an excellent start with three birdies in his opening four holes but slowed up as the round progressed and had to settle for a share of the lead at the end of the day.
Lucas feels, after losing a sudden-death play-off at the Rolex Trophy earlier in the year as well as numerous top ten finishes this season, that a he is due a Challenge tour win at some point and wants it sooner rather than later.
“I’d like to think that the victory will come some time in the next three weeks as opposed to some time next season,” said Lucas. “If I can win here I would be guaranteed some sort of card for the Tour, possibly even a place in the top ten on the Rankings and I would rather have that now than have to wait another year."