A sublime round of 62 set Thomas Norret on course to reclaim the European Tour card he earned at the Qualifying School Final Stage 12 months ago.
On another fine day in Girona, northern Spain, the Dane – who took the 17th card at PGA Catalunya Resort last year – covered the Tour Course in just 62 strokes, firing eight birdies in an immaculate display which moved him to 12 under par.
Norret reached the turn in just 29 thanks chiefly to a five birdie burst from the fourth hole, before making three more gains after the turn to close the gap on England’s Sam Hutsby, who was on 14 under par with six holes of his second round left to play.
With the top 30 and ties securing a place in The 2012 Race to Dubai, Norret is in position to secure a swift return to The European Tour, having relinquished his playing privileges after finishing in 155th place in the Money List this year.
Norret said: “It was an awesome day. I got off to a nice start, and just kept calm all day. I made five birdies in a row on the front nine, and that really got me going. We had a slow part in the middle and got held up, but then I got back into it and played well at the end.
“We really tried to enjoy ourselves out there. It’s not an easy week but we chat and try to have some fun. It’s a long tournament, and if you hit a few bad shots it’s not the end of the world – everyone’s going to do that at some point. So we try to take the pressure off by enjoying it.
“It’s nice to be up there after a round like today. I felt confident coming here. I had a bad first half of the season, but over the last four of five months the game has been pretty good. I played well last week at Second Stage, and in South Africa before that at the Alfred Dunhill Championship. So I was confident coming to Final Stage, and it’s nice that it has paid off today.
“But there’s still a long way to go, and I’ve just got to keep doing what I did today. Obviously the game is there and my confidence is high, so I’ll just try to keep going.”
Hutsby opened and closed his front nine with birdies, but a bogey at the 13th hole checked his progress.
The Southampton star is currently 14 under par, one stroke clear of his compatriot and fellow former Walker Cup player Andy Sullivan, who mixed four birdies with three bogeys in his opening 12 holes to move to 13 under par.
South African Warren Abery and Sweden’s Peter Gustafsson were both going well on 12 under par.