European Challenge Tour Rankings leader Jordi Garcia Pinto is chasing a first win of the season after the Spaniard carded a six under par second round of 65 to take the halfway lead at the Najeti Hotels et Golfs Open.
The Girona native currently leads the rankings by just €807 over two-time winner this season, Moritz Lampert of Germany, but is yet to win himself in 2014.
Garcia Pinto took one step towards to adding to his sole title, the 2013 Barclays Kenya Open, as he continued his stunning form with a round that included eight birdies over the extremely challenging Aa Saint Omer Golf Club.
That moved him to six under par for the tournament and two shots clear of Italian duo Andrea Rota and Alessandro Tadini, as well as England’s Daniel Gaunt, after another day of perfect weather at the northern France venue.
“I am really happy with the way I played,” said the 24 year old, who is attached to European Tour Destination PGA Catalunya Resort. “I played amazing from the start and 65 is a fantastic result on a difficult course like this one at Saint Omer.
“Yesterday I also played really well but I made a couple of big mistakes which cost me a good round and today I just hit a lot of great shots and made a lot of putts.
“I'm feeling really good. The last few weeks I haven’t played my best but last week in La Gomera my attitude was much better and that helped me to start playing well again.
“It is a very difficult course here but I think the main difference between this year and past years is the weather. The weather has been fantastic and hopefully it stays like that for the weekend and I can enjoy it like I have done so far.”
Garcia Pinto, who has waived the opportunity to earn a European Tour card through Qualifying School Final Stage on his home course for the past two years in favour of building his game and confidence on the Challenge Tour, looks to be justifying that decision having claimed two top three finishes and a further top ten in his first six appearances of the season.
But, having led the rankings last year - following his win early in the season - before dropping out of the top 15 by the season’s end, he insists he is just focussing on every round as it comes and not worrying about outside factors.
“At the moment the only thing I'm looking to do is enjoy my golf,” he said. “I'm not thinking about winning the tournament or the fact that I'm leading the Rankings. I'm only thinking about enjoying each round and that’s it.
“I only want to enjoy tomorrow’s round and at the end of the day I will see where I am. My sole aim is to enjoy this course and do my best.”
Rota signed for a two under par 69 to move to four under par, while Tadini carded a three under par 68 to join his compatriot in a share of second place heading into the weekend.
Daniel Gaunt is also two shots off the pace after the 35 year old added a one under par 70 to his opening round of 68, as he searches for a third Challenge Tour victory having come agonisingly close to winning the D+D Real Czech Challenge two weeks ago.
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