‘Get Carter’ will be the rallying call amongst the chasing pack as England’s David Carter takes a two stroke lead into the weekend of The KLM Open at Kennemer Golf & Country Club.
A second successive five under par 65 took Carter to 130, ten under par, two shots clear of home favourite Joost Luiten of The Netherlands, New Zealand's Steve Alker and Sweden’s Alex Noren.
Carter's fortunes have dipped in the last nine years since he partnered Nick Faldo to a World Cup win for England in 1998. That year he also claimed his only title, the Irish Open, in which he beat eight-times European Number One Colin Montgomerie in a play-off.
His successes came a year after he had to undergo emergency brain surgery in Dubai. Last season he only retained his playing card on the 117 cut-off mark after scrambling in at the final event to
count for playing rights.
When a back injury forced the 35 year old South African-born Englishman to pull out of the Barlcays Scottish Open in July, during a run of eight missed cuts in nine events, Carter even wondered if he might have to look for another career.
While he has started to play better since returning from injury, he still lies 186th on the European money-list.
A return to a long putter and discarding his driver this week to maintain accuracy over the tight Kennemer course, reaped dividends for Carter, but the inspiration to emerge from "a dark tunnel" this season came last week in the Scandinavian Masters in Sweden, he said.
He is married to Swedish touring pro Fredrik Jacobson's sister Therese.
"My career has spiralled downwards and you need to be inspired to succeed," Carter said. "Last week my four-year-old son Leo watched me for three rounds with his mum and that gave me inspiration.
"He always asks if I have bought him a present. I don't want to be going home with nothing to show for my week."
Luiten is showing he can make the grade on the full European Tour after this year's double Challenge Tour winner equalled the course record 64. Luiten, currently third on the Challenge Tour Rankings, is an exciting talent who can give the home fans plenty to cheer about over the weekend.
“Six under today which is always good and let’s see what I can do at the weekend,” he said. “I like playing with a lot of people around. I am playing with a lot of confidence and I am enjoying it. My game is good. I like playing in the big tournaments and I hope I can do well at the weekend and do something special here.”
Alker is only three places above Carter on the money-list but gave himself a chance of climbing to safety this week with a second 66.
“I got off to a nice start and had a good round yesterday so that kept the momentum going,” said the Kiwi. “It could have been better but can’t complain. This is similar to a lot of courses back home in New Zealand and as soon as I got here on Tuesday I though this could be a lot of fun.”
Alker and Luiten were joined later in a three way tie for second by Noren after the Swede posted a three under par 67. He briefly moved into a share of the lead with an eagle three on his 11th hole, the par five second, but two dropped shots coming home left him trailing Carter by two.
Another Swede Henrik Nystrom and the English pair of Ross Fisher and Sam Walker lie a further stroke back on seven under par.