With 16 year old starlet Viktor Hovland missing the cut by one shot, the battle to be crowned leading amateur at this week’s Norwegian Challenge is a straight shootout between Andreas F Gjesteby and Kristian K Johannessen.
The duo, who both represent Drammen Golf Club, comfortably made the cut but it is Gjesteby who holds the advantage, having shot a second successive round of 69 to sit in a share of 17th place on six under par, seven shots behind the leader Florian Fritsch of Germany.
Gjesteby, who won the Norwegian National Championship in 2011, will return to his Finance studies at Baylor University in Texas next week, and the 20 year old is hoping to sign off with an impressive performance over the weekend at Miklagard Golf Club, in Klaftø.
He said: “Obviously the main goal now is to end the week as the leading amateur, but I won’t be paying too much attention to what Kristian is doing. I’ll just play my own game and try to finish as high on the leaderboard as possible.
“Whatever happens, it’s already been a great experience for me. I feel like the level on the college circuit in the States is quite similar in terms of the quality of ball-striking, but on the Challenge Tour the players know how to get it in the hole.
“The guys out here are so good around the greens, which is why the scoring is so low so that has shown me what I need to work on if I’m going to compete with them.”
Known affectionately known by his middle name of “Krogh”, Johannessen struggled to maintain the momentum he had gained on the opening day, when a round of 67 delighted the locals following his progress.
But in spite of a 73 for a four under par aggregate total, the 19 year old was still content to have made the cut for the first time in three visits to the Norwegian Challenge.
Johannessen is one of seven Norwegians still in the tournament, and of the professional contingent it is perhaps Anders Engell who is best placed to mount a challenge over the weekend.
Engell is attached to Miklagard Golf Club – as are Stian K Wiik Hansen (two under par) and Christian Aronsen (three under) – and the 25 year old used his local knowledge to superb effect with a round of 65 to move into a share of fifth place on seven under.