Sweden’s Pelle Edberg leads by two shots at the halfway stage of the Norwegian Challenge after carding a three under par 69 in the second round at Hauger Golf Club near Oslo.
The 32 year old admitted he struggled with his wedges all day, but nevertheless reached nine under par for the tournament, two strokes ahead of Daniel Vancsik of Argentina, who shone with a 67, and Sweden’s Victor Almstrom, who signed for a 70.
Overnight leader Roland Steiner, who lit up the first round with a course record 64, struggled to a two over par 74 to fall back to six under alongside six other players.
Edberg was one over after ten holes but went birdie-eagle to kick-start his round, then added two more birdies – one with a fine putt at the last – and one bogey in the last five holes.
“I was good off the tee and good with my irons, but my wedges were terrible,” said the 32 year old, who is currently 66th in the Challenge Tour Rankings. “I made a few putts inside ten feet and three under is a decent score.
“Another nine under for the weekend would be nice. I just need to sort out my wedges and I will have a few more chances.
“The course is good – there are some tough tee shots and the greens are firming up nicely now. I’m feeling good after two weeks off. It was a busy spell before it and now I’ll be playing another five or six weeks in a row, so it was nice to recharge the batteries.”
Vancsik was three under at the turn courtesy of four birdies against one bogey, and he picked up two more shots on the way back. The 34 year old had top ten finishes in his last two events and is currently 39th in the Rankings.
“From tee to green I was great,” he said. “I had four chances for eagle today but the greens are very difficult to read. If you put the ball on the fairway you have a lot of chances.
“Today I didn’t read the greens so well, but I’ve put myself in a very good position. It’s nice to be up there. It’s important to have a chance going into the weekend and feel a bit of pressure.”
Almstrom, playing only his fifth Challenge Tour event of the season, said: “I was solid today, although my putter wasn’t as hot as yesterday. Overall it was good. I hit my driver well, and it’s been a while. That’s been one of the main things for me this season as I haven’t hit it that well.
“But the last two days it’s been going straight and it’s easier to make birdies from the fairways than from the rough. You have to stay patient on this course. If you drive the ball well you’ll have a lot of opportunities to make birdies, but you have to make those birdies.
“I’ve been working with my coach on a few mental things and it seems to be paying off. I’ll be talking to her later on today to talk about the weekend.”
The highest placed Norwegian is Paul Nilbrink – winner of the 2000 Norwegian Open – at five under, while 16 year old amateur Kristoffer Ventura, who played in last year’s Junior Ryder Cup, had a pair of 70s to be four under. Local favourite Espen Kofstad followed up an impressive 67 with a more disappointing 75 to make the cut on the mark.