For a man who enjoys the challenge of playing in difficult conditions, Søren Kjeldsen was in his element at Kennemer Golf & Country Club in Zandvoort as he battled swirling winds, torrential rain and lengthy play interruptions to take the clubhouse lead in the delayed second round of The KLM Open.
Two hours and 15 minutes were lost on Friday morning and one hour and 55 minutes fell by the wayside in the afternoon, firstly due to the threat of thunder and lightning in the area and, secondly, to let the course dry off from the ferocious pounding it took from the heavens above. In total, 50mm of rain fell in half an hour in the morning and 4mm cascaded down in 20 minutes in the afternoon.
It meant the majority of the afternoon starters did not complete their second rounds and will need to return on Saturday morning to do so before the cut and the subsequent draw for the third round can take place.
All of which will not concern Kjeldsen who survived the lengthy morning interruption before posting his second consecutive 68 for a six under par total of 136.
Incredibly, the Dane has not recorded a bogey on his card over the first two days of play, but has posted a double bogey each day. In the second round it came at the par five seventh hole after a lengthy flirtation with the rough and a poor greenside pitch, but it gave the winner of 2003 Diageo Championship at Gleneagles, the kick start his round needed.
After that the diminutive 31 year old was flawless, carding birdies at the tenth and 14th holes and an eagle three at the 523 yard 16th where he holed a 30 foot putt after his three iron second shot arrowed the centre of the green.
“Making doubles can easily happen out there if you stray off the fairway because you can easily have an unplayable lie, it’s not like you have a big area of rough,” he said. “But with the wind being strong, it can happen and you just have to get on with it. But I stayed positive. Yesterday I double bogeyed my second hole of the tournament so I said to my caddie, ‘That’s a wake up call’ and it was a little bit the same today.
“It was hard work out there battling the elements but I quite enjoy playing in the wind so I tried to look at the positive side of it. This place, with the beach and everything, it also feels very much like where I am from in Denmark so it feels very much at home to me.”
Of the players, like Kjeldsen, who finished their second rounds, the best positions were attained by Ireland’s Damien McGrane, who matched the Dane’s 68 for a five under par total of 137, alongside one of the first round leaders, Anders Hansen of Denmark, who signed his card at 9.10pm for a 72 to join the Irishman on 137.
Of the players still out on the course, the pace was set by Spain’s Ignacio Garrido, who stood in the outright lead at eight under par for the tournament through 11 holes of his second round, while Frenchman Christian Cévaër, the other first round leader, was at six under par for the tournament, also through 11 holes.