Sweden’s Jarmo Sandelin joined Dane Anders Hansen and Fernando Roca of Spain at the top of the leaderbaord when the second round of the Novotel Perrier Open de France was completed this morning. Over 60 players returned to Le Golf National at 7.30am to complete their second rounds with the Ryder Cup player picking up another two shots in the final six holes to move to nine under par.
Resuming at seven under par following an outward half of 32 yesterday, Sandelin picked up birdies at the 13th, 14th and 18th, dropping just one shot on the 17th when he came up short in two and took three more to get down. After hitting every fairway and green in regulation in the first round, Sandelin was still better than average with just three missed greens in the second round in his bid to add the French Open title to the Spanish and German titles he won last year.
“If I can play the way I did for the first two rounds and stay focused it will be interesting to see how far I go,” he said. “I’ve been there before so I know what it takes.”
While Sandelin has four victories to his name, both Roca and Hansen are leading at European Tour event for the first time. Roca, who received an invitation to play here, shot a four under par 68. Heearned the 39th card at the European Tour Qualifying School Finals last season but needs a good weekend if he is to improve his category in the Re-Rank which takes place at the end of this event.
Hansen is also in unchartered waters although he has shown some form this year by finishing sixth in the Greg Norman Holden International. “I played very solidly from tee to green,” said the Dane. “Gave myself a lot of chances and my short game was good. I had a couple of up and downs.
“Hopefully I can keep playing well and take it all as a good experience. If things go well you never know.”
Michael Campbell took another step towards a third European Tour title this season when he moved to within a shot of the second round lead with a 66, six under par. Campbell, who competed his second round yesterday, picked up seven birdies in his round, only dropping a shot on the last to finish on eight under par.
Campbell is playing his first tournament for two months after taking a break following his success in both the Johnnie Walker and Heineken Classics and two other victories on the Australasian Tour. But the break seems to have done the 31-year-old New Zealander no harm as he charged up the field, the bogey on the par five ninth, his last, the only blemish on his card.
He said: “It always leaves a sour taste in your mouth when you’ve got a three iron in your hands to a par five for your second shot and you make bogey. But after two months off shooting 70, 66 in the first two rounds for a while is a pretty good effort.”
Campbell burst to prominence by leading the Open Championship at St Andrews after three rounds in his rookie season, finishing third. But the following season suffered a lengthy wrist injury and dip in form. Now he feels he is through the tunnel and has emerged a better player both physically and mentally.
“Three years ago I thought there was no light at all,” he said. “Then I started getting a few results and thought there was light at the end of the tunnel. Now I’m through that tunnel now and I think I’m a better player than I was in 1995. Now I’m ready to go to the next step to winning a major. I had a taste of it. I enjoyed it and would love to have it back again.”
His first goal however is to top the Volvo Order of Merit and with Darren Clarke and Ernie Els ahead of him at the moment he has his work cut out.
Alongside Campbell on eight under is England’s Jonathan Lomas, his best-of-the-day 64 including just 25 putts.