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Friday, 22 July 2011
Robert Karlsson  (Getty Images)
Robert Karlsson (Getty Images)

Big-hitting Australian Scott Hend joined home favourite Robert Karlsson in a share of the clubhouse lead midway through the second round of the Nordea Masters in Stockholm.

Former European Number One Karlsson had been upstaged by his amateur namesake on the opening day.

But as his 22 year old compatriot, South African Jaco Van Zyl and another Swede, Alex Noren - the leading trio overnight - began their rounds Karlsson and Hend had already set a five under par target.

Starting his second round on the tenth, 41 year old Karlsson reeled off four consecutive birdies from the 15th to turn in a three under par 33.

The 11-time European Tour winner had a chance for the outright lead after playing his third shot off the rocks to six feet at the par five ninth, but he missed the birdie putt and had to settle for a 70.

“It’s always a fairly high scoring golf course,” he said. “At 15 I had long two-putt for birdie, 16 hit a good six iron to a couple of feet, then holed two long putts.”

Asked about seeing his name top of the leaderboard before teeing off on Thursday he added: “It’s great for Swedish golf. Not only to have him but other Swedish players as well, young amateurs.

“It was quite interesting not having started and leading a tournament, so it was quite funny! Robert Karlsson four under and he’s on the range!”

Hend is yet to record a top-20 finish on The European Tour this season, but found the lengthy Bro Hof Slott course to his liking as he added a 70 to his opening 69.

“It’s been a while since I’ve played golf so nice to come out and play solid so far,” he said. “Hopefully the weekend will continue that way.

“I need to produce - I haven’t produced so far this year, it’s been a bit of a tough year. I feel like I’m playing good but not producing any results so hopefully that will turn around.”

While amateur Karlsson started his second round with two straight pars, Noren enjoyed back-to-back birdies and when he gained another shot at the sixth the Saab Wales Open winner was three clear.

The locals certainly had plenty to cheer as Niklas Lemke and Fredrik Henge reached the halfway stage on four under for a share of sixth, with Fredrik Andersson Hed one further back taking the number of Swedes in the top ten to six.

Noren turned in a brilliant five under par 31 but amateur Karlsson and Van Zyl both picked up their first shot of the day to keep the gap down to four. 

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1NOREN, AlexanderSWE18-15
2FINCH, RichardENG18-8
3LEMKE, NiklasSWE18-5
T4HEND, ScottAUS18-4
T4MARTIN BENAVIDES, PabloESP18-4
T6JOHNSON, DustinUSA18-3
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