Italian Alessandro Tadini beat fading light and some wretched luck in Denmark to post a level par 72 and seize the clubhouse lead in second round of the ECCO Tour Championship presented by Thomas Björn and Mercedes Benz.
With second round tee times delayed by the 3hour 20minute suspension to the first round on Wednesday, Tadini managed to hit his tee shot on the final hole just before the horn signalled the end of play for the day.
That meant the 37 year old could finish the hole and although he bogeyed it, the joint overnight leader retained his position at the head of the leaderboard on six under par following a battling round.
He is one shot clear of Englishman Daniel Denison and Dane Lasse Jensen, who signed for rounds of 66 and 70 respectively, while the player Tadini shared the first round lead with, Belgian Pierre Relecom, was still out on the course, having negotiated his first 11 holes in level par to also remain six under par.
Tadini, who has three previous victories on the European Challenge Tour, teed off on the tenth and endured a desperately unlucky start with a double bogey after his drive landed in a lie which he labelled “almost unplayable”.
Another bogey on the 13th meant he was three over for the day but he fought back with birdies at the 15th, 16th, first and fourth holes before a bogey on the last hole as the light faded left him level par.
“I’m happy to be in the lead,” he said after his round. “But I’m disappointed because I think on any other day, with the golf that I played, it would have been a round of two under.
“I played well and I would have liked to stretched my lead at the top by a few shots so it’s a little bit disappointing but I still have two days and my golf is good.”
Denison and Jensen were amongst the players who finished their first rounds on Thursday morning and it was the home favourite Jensen who later set the early clubhouse target after carding a 70 to consolidate his opening round of 69.
The Dane, who currently lies 58th in the European Challenge Tour rankings, started his second round on the tenth hole with a bogey but managed to recover and birdies at the 14th, 17th and first holes left him in a good position to challenge for the title.
“I am very satisfied halfway through, I played a very solid round and scored really well,” said the 26 year old.
“I just need to keep on doing what I’ve be doing and I don’t think I’ll be far off the leaders when the week is over.”
He was later joined on five under par by Denison, who followed up his opening round of 73 with a scorching second round of 66.
The 26 year old, another player to emerge from the same ISM stable as Major Champions Charl Schwartzel, Rory McIlroy and Darren Clarke, turned things around in the afternoon, helped by a flying start that saw him reach the turn in five under par.
Having begun his round on the tenth tee, he birdied the 12th and 13th before sinking an 18 foot uphill putt for eagle on the 17th, after a three iron approach shot, and followed that up with another birdie at the 18th.
“I had a great front nine, I putted great all day so I’m really pleased,” he said. “The front nine was great, I had the back-to-back birdies and then went eagle-birdie later on so to go five under for my front nine was really good and set me up for the rest of the round.”
Denison currently lies 13th in the Challenge Tour rankings, helped largely by a second place finish at the dual ranking SAINT OMER OPEN presented by Neuflize OBC in June.
That result rounded off an encouraging few weeks after he finished tied 20th at the Telenet Trophy in Belgium at the end of May followed by a tied tenth place finish at the Kärnten Golf Open presented by Mazda in Austria.
“Saint Omer was the end of a good run and I haven’t picked up since then so I’m looking for a strong finish here now,” he said.
Steven Tiley was another Englishman in contention at the halfway point of the second day after a round of 71 that included four birdies and three bogeys. He joined Bernt Ritthammer of Germany, Frenchman Charles-Edouard Russo, Austria’s Thomas Feyrsinger and Benn Narham of England in tied sixth spot on four under.
The second round will be concluded at 08.00hrs local time on Friday, with the third round expected to begin at 10.30hrs with a two-tee start.