After reaching the turn in 29 Mattias Eliasson’s thoughts had turned to the magical mark of 59, but in the end the Swede had to settle for a round of 62 to lead by two shots from England's Andrew Willey on the second day of the DHL Wroclaw Open.
Following an opening round of 66 which featured a brace of eagles but also a trio of bogeys, consistency, concentration and control were the watchwords for Eliasson, whose five consecutive birdies on his front nine have put him in sight of his maiden European Challenge Tour title.
Eliasson, on 12 under par after the two days, said: “My round today was much more consistent, mainly because my putter was working. It was one of those days when most things went right. Even though I didn’t stiff all of my approach shots, most of my putts seemed to drop. It’s nice when it works out, because it doesn’t happen very often.
“After nine holes I was definitely thinking about shooting 59, because I’ve never done that before – not many golfers have. I’m still happy with a 62, although I would’ve liked to have taken the course record from Wil [Besseling].
“But obviously my main goal now is to win the tournament, because I’ve never won on The European Tour or the Challenge Tour before.”
The same applies to Willey, who is playing his maiden season on the Challenge Tour after finishing second in the PGA Europro Tour Rankings last year.
He added a round of 64 to his opening day 66 at Toya Golf and Country Club in Wroclaw for a ten under par total, to sit in second place on the leaderboard.
After suffering a bout of food poisoning the night before the AGF-Allianz Open Côtes d’Armor Bretagne last month, Willey carded a quintuple bogey ten on the first hole en route to an opening round of 80.
But the man from Nottingham banished those memories with some superb shot making, collecting seven birdies and a solitary bogey.
He said: “Because I’d come from the Europro Tour, it’s taken me a while to adjust and move my game up another level. I played really well out in Italy [at the Piemonte Open] last week, but just didn’t hole enough putts. I finished 36th in the end, so I’m gradually improving all the time. Hopefully I can break into the top 20 here. I’m really enjoying myself so far – long may it continue.
“Going into the weekend, I won’t change anything. I’ll just play the course again, not the other players. It’s playing well out there, and as long as the wind stays away, we should be in for a good weekend.”
Besseling is two shots behind Willey after he was unable to produce the fireworks of the opening day, when he set a new course record with a round of 62.
On that occasion the flying Dutchman produced five consecutive birdies, but in more blustery conditions he was forced to settle for a one under par round which gave him third place on nine under par.
Besseling is trailed by two shots by a cluster of players which include Australia’s Matthew Zions, who eagled the second hole en route to a round of 65.
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