Maarten Lafeber gave himself the perfect opportunity to make it third time lucky when he moved into the lead at the halfway stage of the BMW Asian Open at the Ta Shee Golf and Country Club in Taiwan.
Twice in the last six weeks the 28 year old Dutchman has led after 36 holes in tournaments, namely the Trophée Lancôme and the Telefonica Open de Madrid, but has not been able to capitalise on the position to record his maiden European Tour victory on either occasion.
However, after two excellent opening 66s for a 12 under par total of 132, Lafeber gave himself his biggest 36 hole lead to date, namely four strokes over Ireland’s Padraig Harrington and Trevor Immelman of South Africa.
Like his opening round, Lafeber only dropped one shot on the Ta Shee course, this time coming at the fourth, but he more than made up for that with excellent form elsewhere, five birdies and an eagle his overall return on an fine day’s work.
Of the chasing duo, Harrington was the more disappointed not to be closer to the Dutchman after he classed his second round 70 as an "opportunity missed."
The 31 year old Dubliner had been at his pin-point best in firing a six under par 66 on the opening day - a flawless round in testing conditions, during which he had a birdie putt on all 18 holes.
He looked to be back in the groove in the second round too when, having been out shortly after seven in the morning from the tenth tee, he picked up a birdie two at the 11th and then moved into the lead on his own with a 35 foot birdie putt at the next.
Seeking to gain an early lead in the Volvo Order of Merit in what is the first counting event of The 2003 European Tour International Schedule, Harrington then stretched his lead to two with a 25 foot putt for birdie on the 15th.
But after turning in 33, the Irishman bogeyed the first and then, after holing an eight-footer for birdie at the third, dropped back to eight under with a bogey on the ninth, his last hole of the day.
He said: "I started well, but my concentration wasn't good today. I should have done better as I was swinging the club fine. Some days it's like that. I wasn't in it today. I don't think the course played a lot different to yesterday, I just didn't do the job, and it's always annoying to bogey the last.”
Harrington's time alone in second spot was short-lived, with South African Trevor Immelman putting together a late burst of birdies to join him on eight under par 136.
Starting the day on three under, Immelman moved forward with four birdies and an eagle on the long sixth to post a five under par 67 over the 7,101 yard course.
Australian Adrian Percey and American Andrew Pitts five shots off the pace in joint fourth place with five players in a tie for sixth on six under par 138.
However, the second day’s play was subdued by the news of the death of John Daly’s mother Lou from lung cancer.
The American had been with his mother for the past few weeks but followed her advice to play in China last week, as well as Taiwan, and he had been hoping to go on to Australia next week.
Daly learned about his mother’s passing during his opening round of 70 but decided to carry on, in accordance with his mother's wishes, and posted a second round 74 for a level par total of 144.