Tobias Dier continued to set the pace in The TNT Open at Hilversumche Golf Club at the halfway stage and revealed the reason for his upturn in form was down to the fact that he had curtailed his practice regime.
The 25 year old German, who set the tournament alight with a course record 60 in the first round, was not quite as spectacular with his second round 67 but the fact he still has to drop a shot enabled him to finish on 13 under par 127 and forge a three shot lead over Peter Lonard and Jamie Spence with Mark Roe a further shot adrift.
“When I go home I tend to be on the course for six to eight hours a day and then a couple of hours in the gym,” said Dier. “But I practiced a lot less last week because Sven Strüver told me he thought I practiced too much.
“He said to me, ‘You didn’t really play well in the last two weeks so just tone it down a little bit’. So I came home on Monday night and had a rest for a few days. I picked up the clubs on Friday, hit a few balls for a couple of hours, it wasn’t really very good, so I didn’t go on the course on Saturday.
“On Sunday I worked with my coach a little bit on a new posture but nothing special. I also didn’t play on Monday because I drove all the way up here from home so it was an awkward feeling being here on Tuesday and not having practiced at all. But maybe, the way I’ve started, I should keep on doing that!”
Certainly Dier’s second round was a contrast to his blistering opening 18 holes and for a while it looked like he might be on the way to 18 straight pars. But the sequence was broken at the long 12th with a birdie four and he followed that up with further birdies at the 16th and 18th to be home in 32.
In his maiden victory in last year’s North West of Ireland Open, Dier led at halfway and went on to win but admitted he will have to be at his absolute best to repeat the achievement given the quality of the chasing pack this week.
“Somebody might go out tomorrow and shoot 62 and then we have a new tournament,” he said. “Even if I shoot low he might still be ahead of me so you can’t really say at halfway what will happen. You can only play your game and see what the others do afterwards. That’s all you can do, play your best and hope it is enough.”
Certainly the chasing pack gave notice they are more than capable of living up to Dier’s prophecy, Lonard shooting a second round 63, Spence carding a 64 and Roe posting a 64 to turn up the heat on the leader.
Highlight of Lonard’s round came on the back nine where he birdied five holes in a row from the 11th. The 35 year old Australian, a two time winner on The European Tour International Schedule, dropped a shot at the 16th where he missed the green with his approach, but made up for the error with a closing birdie at the 18th to move to ten under par 130.
“I think this is a great course, “ he said. “It is one of those where if you hit it good, you get rewarded for it. You have to drive the ball well and if you do there are birdies opportunities out there. But if you don’t drive the ball well you are in serious trouble - I think that is probably a good way to play the game.”
Joint second placed Spence, who will partner Dier in the final group of the third round, put his good form down largely to a trip made recently to former European Tour professional Peter Mitchell, who is now attempting to forge a career as a coach.
“He’s going to be one of the top coaches over the next few years because he knows the game inside out and he had already had quite a few people asking him to look at them,” he said. “He is someone I’ve always kind of leaned on anyway because he is a mate so I’d like it to become more permanent.”
The 39 year old Englishman has prospered on the back nine of the Hilversumche course, posting a 29 in his opening 66 and following that with a 30 in his 64, nine holes which included a pitch-in eagle three at the 13th and a 40 foot putt for eagle three on the 18th.
Fellow Englishman Roe revealed a return to basics in his swing had helped him card a second round 64. He said: “I literally just took aim, made a swing and tried to get the thing going forward straight.
“As my practice session went on I was drawing the ball again. I haven’t drawn the ball for a long time and I always remember when I did play well that I did draw the ball. So it is very exciting and I am looking forward to the weekend.”
Four players shared fifth place on seven under par 133, Gary Evans, Pierre Fulke, Padraig Harrington and Jarrod Moseley, the best score coming from Open Championship hero Evans, who kept alive the dream of his first Tour victory with an excellent 64.