Jeev Milkha Singh added a sensational 63 to his opening 64 to pull away from the field and threaten total domination at the Bank Austria GolfOpen presented by Telekom Austria.
Singh’s 36 hole aggregate of 15 under par 127 equalled the lowest first 36 hole score of the 2008 European Tour season and ensured a four stroke advantage over England’s Simon Wakefield, and a five shot lead over New Zealand’s Mark Brown and Australia’s Peter Fowler on the second round leaderboard.
Singh has been in wonderfully consistent form for the majority of the year with two second place finishes to his name. The Indian is naturally keen to go one step further, and he will have fewer better opportunities given that there is just 18 holes left to play at Fontana Golf Club after tournament Officials were left with no choice but to cut the event to 54 holes after the complete loss of play on Thursday.
“I am very pleased with that,” Singh told a packed press conference after completing his excellent 63. “I am happy with the way that I have played, especially today when I was bogey free and holed a great long putt on the last for eagle.
“I hit the ball really well today in fact – I putted well too. To be 15 under after two rounds doesn’t come every often – I can remember when the last time was that I did that, it certainly not coming back to my memory so I might never have done it.
“I am pretty happy with the way that I have managed myself and conducted myself on the golf course. I think when any golfer gets to certain score they can get anxious and get ahead of themselves so I am very happy with the way that I handled that.”
Wakefield is another man who can be rightly pleased with his first 36 holes. The Englishman feels a breakthrough victory on The European Tour is long overdue having come so close last season when he lost out in a sudden-death play-off to Scotland’s Marc Warren at the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles.
“I felt like last year at Gleneagles was my week,” said Wakefield. “I was three under for the last round, made no bogeys and felt like I had done nothing wrong Marc then makes a fantastic up and down and I hit one of the best putts that I had hit all week and broke the other way and missed.
“I didn’t feel that I was robbed but I was a bit disappointed. Every time I watch that replay I still think that putt is going in. This week, Jeev is obviously playing great with his new clubs and it’s going to be a good day tomorrow.”
Barring a final round collapse from the leader, it seems that only Wakefield, Brown and Fowler – and perhaps the fifth placed trio of Richard Bland, Soren Hansen and Gary Murphy on nine under – have a realistic chance of catching Singh at the top of the leaderboard.
Of those players in pursuit of Singh, Brown produced the best score of the day, matching Singh’s second round 63 to move into contention.
But if Singh can maintain the unshakeable mindset and beautiful golf that he has produced over the first two rounds at Fontana, he will surely add a third European Tour title to his Volvo China Open and Volvo Masters successes of 2006.
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