Leif Westerberg continues to dominate the 2007 Kazakhstan Open after a second round of one under par 71 left the Swede a shot ahead of Argentina’s Hernan Rey at the top of the leaderboard.
On another beautiful day at the Nurtau Golf Club, where the imposing Tien Shen Mountains offer the most stunning of backdrops, Westerberg continued his ascent to post a ten under 132 halfway total, with Rey his closest challenger followed by Sweden’s Pontus Ericsson on seven under after opening scores of 68-68.
The Scottish duo of Eric Ramsay and Peter Whiteford share fourth place on six under, with a further four men grouped on five under par heading into the weekend.
Westerberg, currently 23rd on the Rankings, is looking to secure his place on The European Tour by taking the richest first prize in Challenge Tour history (€52,800) on offer at the Kazakhstan Open.
A solid second round performance that included three birdies and two dropped shot left the 33 year old in a perfect position to do just that, but he will not even contemplate that thought until his last putt of the tournament drops on Sunday afternoon.
“I obviously didn’t play as well today as yesterday but I am still up there and still managed to shoot under par today so I have got to be happy with my position,” said Westerberg.
“I was in the last group out today and for some reason I always struggle if I am last out in the first two rounds. I don’t know why it is but it’s not important – I certainly won’t have those feelings when I am in the last group tomorrow.”
Like Westerberg, Rey is just outside the top 20 on the Rankings in 24th spot. The Argentine suffered the horrible fate of finishing one place outside the final top 20 last season and is hoping that a strong finish on Sunday afternoon can elevate him to an unassailable position this time round.
Victory would certainly guarantee Rey a place on The 2008 European Tour and banish the painful memories of last year.
“I am trying just to play shot by shot and have some fun. That’s the game,” said Rey. “I can only control what I do. Whatever the Rankings say at the end of the year is the truth. You can’t argue with that. I am trying not to think about too much other than playing.
“If you start to think like that and start getting your calculator out and trying work out what you need then you can’t focus on the golf. I think I learned a lot from last year, mainly the experience of going through something like that. It makes you more determined and a stronger player when you go through those experiences.
“I am playing solid so far this week on the kind of golf course that we need to play to get ready for The European Tour. Even though I missed the cut here last year I knew the course was good. It’s easy to say how good a course is when you are playing well, but I knew the way the course plays and sets up that this is a great test.”