An eagle and five birdies helped Robert Coles open up a three stroke lead at the half-way mark of the Trophée du Golf de Genève as the Englishman moved into pole position for his third European Challenge Tour win of the season.
After a scintillating opening round 64, Coles fired another flawless seven under par round of 65 at Golf Club de Genève, saving par on the last with a fine 20ft putt to maintain his bogey-free record for the opening 36 holes.
That came after an eagle on the fifth hole, his 14th of the day, which had moved him to 15 under par for the tournament, three shots clear of Frenchman Julien Quesne, the overnight leader who added a 69 to his opening round 63.
Coles needs one more Challenge Tour victory to gain automatic exemption on The European Tour for the rest of this season and next, having already won twice this year, at the MOROCCAN CLASSIC by BANQUE POPULAIRE and the Challenge of Ireland presented by Moyvalley.
Despite his half-way advantage, the 36 year old remains cautious going into the weekend.
“So far it has been so good,” said Coles, who tied for fifth last week at the SK Golf Challenge in Finland. “I’m really pleased with the way I have scored so far. To be 15 under after 36 holes is a great score and seven under today was another good round but I realised there are another 36 holes to go so I am not getting carried away.
“This year is the most consistent I’ve ever played – no question. It gives you confidence when you are doing it every week. Some weeks I’ve not played well but I’ve got it round and scored well and others I’ve played really well.
“My eagle was a three wood then four iron to 15ft and the putt hit the lip of the hole and went in so I was a bit fortunate there really. I probably hit the ball closer to the hole yesterday but I played well again today.”
Coles admitted to being a little surprised at shooting two very low scores as he has previously struggled on the Swiss course.
“I played here two years ago and about 14 years ago and missed the cut both times,” he said. “I’d say the difference this week is I’m playing a lot better than I was then and have been all year. I’ve also had two morning times when I’ve had the course at its best. It will obviously firm up in the afternoon when I’m out tomorrow but I’m playing well. I’m hitting it really close and giving myself a lot of opportunities.”
Germany’s Florian Fritsch is four strokes behind leader Coles in third place after a 68, while England’s James Morrison is a further shot back following a 67.
Fellow Englishman Peter Baker provided one of the highlights of the second round, notching a hole in one at the 170-yard par three 11th, his second hole of the day, en route to an impressive five under par round of 67 to lie six shots off the pace.