Thomas Detry put himself firmly in contention on the European Challenge Tour as he shot up the leaderboard on the third morning of the Najeti Open to lie just one shot behind after the completion of the delayed second round.
Following storms on the first two days, Aa Saint-Omer Golf Club was playing soft and the Belgian took advantage of the conditions, firing six birdies in a four under par round of 67 to trail leader Andrea Pavan – who finished his second round last night – by one shot on eight under par.
The 23 year old only turned professional at last week’s KMPG Trophy, where he finished an impressive tied sixth, and he hopes to learn quickly from those lessons of contending over the weekend to challenge again in France.
“I learned last week I just need to stay patient,” he said. “Putts will fall and maybe on Sunday, if I’m still in contention, I can be a little bit more aggressive – I stick to my game plan pretty well but there are times when I feel I can be a bit more aggressive.
“It’s funny because I was expecting to be nervous, especially last week, but I actually wasn’t nervous at all. It was great to start my first two rounds as a professional five under, five under, so that showed me that I had the potential and I had the game to be competitive here.
“Last week gave me a lot of confidence and this week, I heard a lot of stuff about this course – it’s a tricky course and you’ve just got to be patient because you’re going to have some bad luck.
“I managed to stay patient, I managed to get some good up-and-downs when I needed to and take care of some of the tough holes out there.
“The greens are really good, it’s in great shape, so there is nothing to complain about. You’ve got to play smart and keep the hole in front of you – if you start leaving yourself downhill putts it gets pretty difficult.
“The plan is to get on the European Tour, however long that takes – six months, a year, two years. We have a plan for two-and-a-half years to get on the tour so there’s no rush, but my plan right now is to get there as fast as I can because I see I have the game to be competitive here.”
Italy’s Pavan, a four-time winner on the Challenge Tour, shot a fine round of 66 to reach nine under par at the halfway point, with first round leaders Victor Riu and Duncan Stewart both slipping down the leaderboard.
Portugal’s José-Filipe Lima lies in third on six under par after a round of 70, one shot ahead of Stewart, Ben Stow and France’s own Matthieu Pavon, the highest-ranked player on the Road to Oman in the field this week.
The Rankings Number Two is one of 15 Frenchmen to make the cut which fell at two over par, with 79 players surviving to play the final 36 holes.