Sweden’s Henrik Nystrom took control of the Aa St Omer Open after a wonderful second round display in Northern France saw him sail to the top of the leaderboard at the halfway stage. Nystrom continued the outstanding form that took him to a seventh place finish at the Celtic Manor Wales Open two weeks ago to post a six under par 65 on day two, leaving him on an eight under 136 aggregate score.
The 38 year old Swede leads England’s Paul Dwyer, South Africa’s Jean Hugo and the Argentinean Cesar Monasterio by two strokes going into the weekend at the Aa St Omer Golf Club.
Dwyer’s return to form has coincided with his return to St Omer, where he took second place last year after losing out in a sudden-death play-off to Joakim Bäckström of Sweden.
The disappointment of losing out on his maiden European Tour victory at this dual ranking event 12 months ago was tempered by the fact that his second place finish played a hugely significant role in him wining his Tour card through the 2005 Challenge Tour Rankings.
Dwyer is the first to admit that his results in 2006 have been disappointing, but is relishing the opportunity he has carved out for himself over the first two rounds to go one better than he did last season come Sunday afternoon.
“It didn’t start off too well today,” said Dwyer. “I was three over after six holes but then managed to birdie seven, eight and nine. Then I made it four in a row with a birdie on ten. Then I hit a really good eight iron on the 14th to five feet and rolled it in. Then I birdied the 15th and then 16th before I holed out from about 45 feet on the last, which was a nice way to finish. I was eight under for my last 12 holes today which is more like it.
“I think if you have had a result somewhere before and you go back there you just feel more relaxed about the week. That’s how I feel this week – I just hope to go one better this year.
“I was disappointed not to win the play-off last season but you have got to look at the big picture and this time last year finishing second here was a massive result for me and played a big part in me getting my Tour card through the Challenge Tour Rankings.”
Like Dwyer, Nystrom has struggled to find his best form this season after a limited amount of starts on The European Tour, but has visibly grown in confidence since finishing in seventh place at the Celtic Manor Resort a fortnight ago.
“I want to win this season,” said Nystrom. “I have been playing well since the beginning of the year but haven’t had that many starts. So, when I have played, I have missed a few cuts by just one or two shots but I am pushing forward and trying to do well when I get the chance to play. Wales was the first one that I managed to do that.
“I made a good climb on the Order of Merit in Wales. When you get higher on the list it is a lot easier to see that you are going to make the top 115. When you are way back you start to count tournaments and it never works out, so it is nice to have made a good move up the Order of Merit.”