Friday, 03 September 2010
Romain Wattel ()
Romain Wattel ()

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  • George Murray

Frenchman Romain Wattel strengthened his bid to become the second amateur winner on the European Challenge Tour in three weeks with a second round 69 in the ALLIANZ Europen de Strasbourg-Golf de la Wantzenau.

The 19 year old World Amateur Number Four fired five birdies and two bogeys at Golf de la Wantzenau to move to eight under par for the tournament, alongside fellow clubhouse leaders Scot George Murray and Steven Tiley of England.

Wattel is trying to follow in the footsteps of Danish Andrews Hartø who won the ECCO Tour Championship in Germany last month, becoming only the fourth amateur to win on the Challenge Tour.

“I’m playing very well and I feel confident that I can do well this weekend,” said Wattel.  “It’s a great course, a pleasure to play, and I’m just going to try to focus on each shot and play them 100 per cent.

“Seeing an amateur win two weeks ago has given me confidence that I can do it. You look at Matteo Manassero too who was an amateur only a year ago and is now doing well on The European Tour and you think an amateur can win.

“I putted very well today and hopefully I can keep it going.”

Murray, who is currently fifth on the European Challenge Tour Rankings, fired four birdies and just one bogey in his 69 to move to eight under par for the tournament.

He is chasing is second victory of 2010 after winning the Scottish Hydro Challenge and the 27 year old feels he has a good chance at Golf de la Wantzenau if he can improve on his accuracy off the tee.

“I’ve been driving it terribly for the last two days but fortunately I’ve been great with my irons and wedges,” said Murray.

“I’ve been hitting quite short and struggling to keep it in play but I’m going to spend some time on the range and hopefully I’ll sort it out and then I’ll be happy with my game.

“There’s a lot of dew on the greens in the morning which makes it quite difficult so hopefully with being in one of the later groups tomorrow I’ll have the best of them.”
Tiley had earlier set the clubhouse target after a round of 68 which included six birdies and a double bogey on the par three fourth hole, when his drive found a bunker and he then three putted.

The 27 year old birdied the next hole and picked up another shot on his last, the ninth, to also move to eight under par 136 for the tournament.
Tiley is down in 69th on the Rankings but his opening round 66 in The Open Championship at St Andrews showed his undoubted ability and it was in evidence again in France.

“I’ve played nicely the last two days and I hit some good shots out there today,” he said. “There were some really good wedge shots and I’m feeling good about my game.

“This season has been so-so for me but hopefully I can have a good week here. I didn’t really like the course in Germany or Wales over the last two weeks but this one suits my eye and you tend to do well when you like the course.”

Overnight leaders Ryan Blaum, Lorenzo Gagli and Daniel Gaunt, are all in the afternoon groupings. 

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