Italian Marco Crespi stormed to the top of the leaderboard at the midway point of the second day in the Telenet Trophy, a six under par round of 65 handing him the outright clubhouse lead on nine under.
Crespi, playing in his first regular Challenge Tour event of the season, made a slow start with a bogey on the 11th, his second hole, but his round was flawless thereafter.
Birdies at the 13th and 16th holes helped him reach the turn in one under before an incredible back nine which included no less than six birdies.
“I just played really well,” said the 33 year old. “I tried to keep focussed after the bogey on the 11th and just play my game and I improved with every hole and then finished really well with two birdies on the last two holes. It’s only half way but I’m really happy with it.
“I really love Belgium. Last year I won an Alps Tour event here so I really enjoy the course, it’s really nice. It suits me because it’s tight and I hit a lot of fairways and greens. I just didn’t make any mistakes today.”
The English pair of John Parry and Olly Whitely were a shot behind Crespi on seven under par.
Parry had entered the second round just two shots off the pace and he made hay while the first round leader Andy Sullivan struggled to maintain his momentum after a suspension in play meant he finished his first round on the second day of play.
Parry got off to the perfect start with a birdie on the 10th hole, his first, but a bogey on the 11th set him back straight away. The European Tour winner gained ground, however, with three birdies in four holes from the 14th hole, with a bogey at the 15th in between.
A birdie at the second hole was followed by a bogey on the seventh and the 25 year old signed for a two under par round of 69.
“I drove it well today,” he said, “I haven’t really hit a bad shot off the tee yet except for once on the first day but I've hit every fairway and it’s tight here so if you can get it off the tee it’s half the battle. I made a few bogeys from bad second shots, unforced errors and a couple of three-putts but it’s all good.
“It’s trickier today because of the tiers on the greens, it’s tougher to get the right level but there are enough chances out there. It’s not a long course so if you can keep it in play you’ve got a chance of shooting low.”
Whitely, meanwhile, carded a five under par round of 66 thanks in part to an excellent front nine, which he negotiated in four under par after three successive birdies from the fourth hole were followed by another on the ninth hole.
His first bogey of the day came at the 12th but he made up for it with a birdie on the 13th before closing with a birdie to join Parry in the clubhouse lead.
“The course is pretty tricky,” he said. “You’ve got to hit the fairways and the greens and I know that sounds cliché but it’s definitely the case here because the greens are quite small.
“I played solid really, I holed a couple of nice putts early on. The first hole is a brutal start to the morning but I played nicely. It’s just a case of keeping it steady and avoiding the trees at all costs so I played safe and attacked where I could. There are a lot of holes where par is quite a good score so I just try to remind myself of that.“I got comfortable after that and stayed steady from there on in and then knocked in a birdie on the last so that was a nice way to finish.”