Switzerland’s Raphaёl De Sousa shot a flawless five under par round of 67 to take a share of the lead with four other players on seven under par at the halfway mark of the European Challenge Tour’s Piemonte Open in Torino.
De Sousa, who has been working with a sports psychologist to help improve his putting, shot five birdies the day after he celebrated his 25th birthday.
The Piemonte Open is being played over two courses for its first two rounds – the Royal Park Golf and Country Club and the Circolo Golf Torino – and De Sousa took advantage of favourable conditions on the former to surge up the leaderboard.
Having been back in 20th place overnight, De Sousa is tied for the lead with countryman Julien Clément, English pair Seve Benson and Andrew Marshall and Swede Björn Pettersson.
De Sousa said his hard work on the mental side of his game had paid dividends on the Royal Park Golf and Country Club, which has proved less daunting than the Circolo Golf Torino.
He said: “My putting was really good today and I made some saves to keep bogey free. I worked with a psychologist last to week to visualise everything because I was thinking too much about the technical side of the game.
“I was having more fun on the course. It has really been helping me and it showed today when I made a lot of putts. That has really kept me up there and I was happy with the way I played today.”
“The course was very good and I think there could be some low scores over the weekend. Playing on the Royal Park helped me as I don’t think the rough was as bad and there was chance to pick up some shots.
“I remember playing on this course a long time ago and liking it.”
Marshall, who had been in second place overnight, shot four birdies and two bogeys for a one under par 71, while his playing partner on the tougher Circolo Golf Torino course, Benson, shot two birdies and an eagle in a two under par round of 70 that also contained two bogeys.
Benson, who is looking to better his fifth place finish at last month’s ll Club Colombia Masters, said: “It was a good course and the conditions were tough today but I’m happy with my score.”
Swede Pettersson, meanwhile, admitted it was safety first on the challenging Circolo Golf Torino, but like Benson fared better than most in shooting a two under par 70.
He said: “I’m very pleased with a 70 on this course. I only used the driver two times today as I just aimed for the centre of the fairway. On this course you can’t hit out of the rough so I used mainly irons off the tee today but it worked well and my putting was good.
“It’s my first Challenge Tour event of the year and I’m pleased with the two rounds.”
Clément, who had been joint overnight leader on eight under par with Englishman James Morrison, shot a one over par round of 73 that included three birdies as well as two bogeys and a double bogey five on the 13th hole of the Circolo Golf Torino.
Englishmen Morrison and Gary Lockerbie are a shot behind the leaders on six under par, along with another Swiss, Damian Ulrich.
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