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Friday, 01 July 2011
 James Morrison   (Getty Images)
James Morrison (Getty Images)

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James Morrison surged to the top of the leaderboard at the halfway stage of the Alstom Open de France after carding a wonderful five under par 66.

The Englishman nearly pulled out of the tournament after he was hospitalised on Tuesday night when his Crohn’s disease flared up but the 26 year old has showed tremendous resolve to reach ten under at Le Golf National.

Joint overnight leader Richard Green looked on course to retain his position at the top and had moved to 11 under but a double bogey on his second to last hole proved to be his undoing.

Morrison had a rather sedate start to proceedings after going level par through the back nine but exploded into life by picking up five shots on the way home in an unblemished round to equal his score from yesterday.

He revealed it was touch and go whether he would participate in the tournament but after a magnificent two opening rounds, he hopes he can carry his form into the weekend.

"I had a flare‑up start of the week and I wasn't going to play up to Wednesday morning, and put on some steroids for the week and I feel it's really calming it down now. So I'm still here," said Morrison.

"I think I probably had the one squirrely shot in two days, been pretty steady, pretty solid. Haven't holed everything but I have played very well, but I've holed a few key putts and it's been a good two days."

"Level par for nine, wasn't really worried. I had a good back nine, my goal was minus three, I'm at minus five, so I'm happy.

"The golf course really suits me, and if I can keep being patient and keep holing the putts, it will be a nice weekend.

Australian Green, who also started his round through the back nine looked to be going along smoothly and had three successive birdies at the second, third and fourth before disaster struck at the seventh to leave him on nine under par.

The 40 year old said: "I feel like my game is sort of under control, and you know, just going to go into the weekend and try to build my score again, and you know, go with it.

"I guess my composure really has been very good, and I've been able to score well enough to keep momentum going along. 

"You know, my putting has been very good, and you know, I've driven the ball very well apart from obviously the seventh hole today. But confidence is good."

Mark Foster lies three shots back after compiling 68 for the second day in a row and he admitted he was looking to take advantage of any slip ups Morrison or Green may make.

He said: “You can never be too far ahead, that is for sure. So obviously these guys that are playing exceptionally well, they have gone well clear, but I'll be looking at staying solid and maybe assessing nearer the time.

“I've had a tendency not to take form into the following weeks and I was quite conscious off that when I came out. Practised well and kept myself quiet and out of the way. Striking it well and pleased.”

Richie Ramsay, Thorbjørn Olesen and Matthew Nixon are in a tie for fourth at five under, with the former looking particularly impressive.

Three birdies in five holes at the start of the front nine took Ramsay into a share of top spot, but he failed to get up and down from just short of the seventh green.

Former Ryder Cup player Paul Broadhurst, who won the title back in 1995, and Thongchai Jaidee are at four under.

2007 champion Graeme Storm, the other player to start with a 65 alongside Green, struck a quadruple bogey eight on the 18th, hitting two balls into the lake short of the green and he is now eight shots adrift of the lead.

The Englishman joins World Number Four Martin Kaymer and eight other competitors on two under.

Defending champion Miguel Angel Jiménez will miss the cut after making an eight over par 79.

Fellow 2010 Ryder Cup players Francesco Molinari, Peter Hanson and Bubba Watson are among the other high profile casualties. 

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