Sweden’s Christian Nilsson carded three birdies in his first six holes to overtake compatriot Fredrik Andersson Hed on the second day of the SAINT-OMER Open presented by Neuflize OBC.
The 30 year old – runner-up here last year – began the day three under par, two behind Andersson Hed, but a run of three successive birdies from the fourth hole lifted him to the top of the leaderboard.
By that time Andersson Hed, also an afternoon starter, had fallen into a tie for third after dropping shots at the second and third holes at Aa St Omer Golf Club in Lumbres, France.
England’s James Morrison, starting on the back nine, had briefly held a share of the lead with Nilsson after a birdie at the 531-yard 14th had moved him up to five under par through eight holes.
Of the morning starters, Australian Matthew Millar is well placed on two under par after following his opening round of 71 with a 69.
“Any time you break 70 round here, you’ve got to be pretty happy,” he said. “It’s probably not the longest course in the world, but there are so many things that can trip you up.”
Alongside Millar on two under par is Portugal’s José-Filipe Lima, who declared himself reasonably satisfied with his efforts.
“It wasn’t a good finish to my round, but 71 is still a good score today,” he said. “It’s still very windy, and it’s going to be even windier this afternoon, so it’s going to be tough.
“It was quite windy yesterday afternoon, so we know how to play the course in wind. But the guys going out later might not have played the course in wind, so it’s going to be difficult for them to adjust.
“I don’t know if we’re getting more wind over the weekend, but if we do, it’s going to be interesting. I should be in the top ten going into the weekend, which is a very good place to be.”
Iceland’s Birgir Hafthorsson produced the best round of the morning starters, a three under par 68, but that only lifted him to two over.
England’s Peter Baker carded a round of 69 after recovering from two bogeys in his first nine holes, having started at the tenth. The 41 year old former Ryder Cup player had four birdies in his last seven holes to move to level par.