Jamie Moul leads by two shots at the halfway stage of the Acaya Open in Italy, but he could have had a greater advantage had he not dropped six shots on the back nine of his second round.
The Englishman was five under for his round after ten holes, but wayward tee shots proved his undoing as he slipped to a one over par 71 to go back to four under par overall, two strokes clear of Austrian HP Bacher, who signed for a level par 70, Spaniard Jorge Campillo and Scot Chris Doak, who both carded 69.
Five players - Henrik Norlander (71), Nino Bertasio (67), Daniel Vancsik (67), Florian Praegant (65) and Steven Tiley (68) - are another shot back at one under.
Moul, who had a 65 on day one, looked to be once again stamping his authority on the Acaya Golf Resort course with five birdies in the first ten holes, but his round unravelled with a double bogey at the 12th and bogeys at the 14th and 16th. Another double bogey at the last added insult to injury.
“I got off to a great start and was five under through ten, then I just hit four bad tee shots,” said the 26 year old from Essex. “You can’t do that round here – it means you’ll be dropping shots all over the place.
“I went in the water three times and left up the last. It was all down to the tee shots; I didn’t do too much else wrong today. Even tee shots you think are going to be alright, if they drift slightly off line or run into the rough, you’re going to be punished.
“On the 15th it just ran out of fairway and went into the rough, and it took me three minutes to find it, it was so buried.
“I’ll maybe work on my driving a little this afternoon but I’m very happy with the way I’m playing. It’s just four bad tee shots that have cost me a few shots, and you’re going to hit a few bad ones at some point. This course bites you.
“It is roasting out there, it’s unbelievable. At 6.30 this morning the practice range was the sweatiest place in the world. It’s energy sapping playing in this heat so I need to have some food and rest this afternoon.”
Bacher might have had a share for the lead if he had not double-bogeyed the last.
He said: “I took the lead at one stage, at five under, but I bogeyed the par three fourth and I didn’t make any more birdies. I had a good par at the eighth but then I hit it left into the rough on the ninth – my last hole – and ended up with a double bogey.
“That was the first shot of the whole tournament I hit in the rough, and now I know why the scores are so high. It’s not nice to hit out from there and I would say I got away with a six.
“Level par is a good score round here though so I’ll take it. Everything feels very good – I’m solid off the tee and making some good putts. It doesn’t matter to me whether I’m leading or just behind – either is a nice position to be in. I’m just looking forward to the next two rounds.”
Campillo, who was one over at the halfway mark but managed to turn things around on the back nine, said: “I’m playing well and it’s nice to test yourself on a course as difficult as this,” he said. “It’s good to come away with par or one under and feel like you’ve played really well. It’s a nice change from scores of seven, eight under every day, it means it’s not a putting competition.”
Doak added: “It’s hard to make birdies out there because the fairways are narrow and the rough is thick, so I’ll take two under. I played solid again so hopefully I can keep it up over the weekend."