The Telenet Trophy is becoming something of a Belgian fantasy with Didier De Vooght, Nicolas Vanhootegem and Nicolas Colsaerts set to make up a dream final three-ball for the third round at the Royal Waterloo Golf Club.
That perfect scenario unfolded during another wonderful second round, as De Vooght surged into the lead on 13 under par 131 after a blistering finish of four birdies in his last five holes helped to a 66. Vanhootegem moved to second spot on 11 under with the help of a sublime hole in one on the par three 15th, while Colsaerts remains very much in the hunt on nine under.
With the home crowds swelling around the Royal Waterloo Golf Club, the three leaders once more stepped up their games to continue the Belgian dominance of this outstanding Challenge Tour event.
De Vooght shrugged off a shaky front nine to produce a tremendous finish to his second round. A fine chip-in birdie on the ninth took him to one under for the day at the turn before he exploded into action as he made his way back to the clubhouse, picking up shots on the 10th, 14th, 16th, 17th and 18th.
“This is the best I have played for as long as I can remember and I have a good memory!” laughed De Vooght after signing for a second round 66.
“It’s been a long time but I was hitting it nicely at the beginning of the week and felt good but it’s great to see the shots coming off the way that I want them to in the tournament itself.
“For example, my approaches to the last two greens today were excellent and it is nice to be able to pull that off.
“I had a bit of a shaky start at the beginning of the day and then I birdied eight to get back to level for the day and then chipped in at nine for birdie and holed a good putt on ten and all of a sudden I was off and running again.”
Vanhootegem, who started the second round on the tenth tee early in the morning, surged into contention with three birdies in a row before his perfect eight iron from 149 metres landed five yards short of the flag and sought out the holes for a perfect ace.
“After that I had a good bogey on the 16th because it could have been a double – I think I just had too much adrenaline from the hole in one,” said Vanhooteem.
“Then I had two nice birdies on 17 and 18 but could not keep the birdies coming on the front nine until the eight where I picked up another shot.
“It’s great for the tournament that there are three of us at the top of the leaderboard because we should get some great crowds over the weekend here. It could be amazing.”
Colsaerts completed the dream three ball with a second round 70 that could have been another hugely impressive display but for a slight blip in the middle of his day when he dropped four strokes in three holes.
Despite that set back, Colsaerts played beautifully and will relish the opportunity to play alongside his fellow countymen in Saturday’s final group.
Sweden’s Magnus A Carlsson, is in fourth place on seven under par, with Felipe Aguilar of Chile, former Ryder Cup player and Vice-Captain Peter Baker of England and Spain’s Alvaro Velasco tied on six under.
The Telenet Trophy is already being proclaimed a huge success due to the mesmerising performances of the country’s three most talented players.
De Vooght summed up the feeling of the home players perfectly.
He said: “I think this tournament has already been a success and it is just fantastic to have the three of us in the final group tomorrow. To have three Belgians leading the way and then Jerome not too far away is unbelievable.
“It will get the people’s attention and hopefully encourage them to come out and watch us instead of criticise us. Come out and watch us and see what we can do.
“The tournament can only grow from here, it has been an amazing couple of days for us and we have to try and keep it going over the weekend."
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