Friday, 07 June 2013
Joost Luiten   (Getty Images)
Joost Luiten (Getty Images)
Joost Luiten holds a one shot advantage on a congested leaderboard at the halfway stage of the Lyoness Open powered by Greenfinity.

Luiten added a 68 to his opening 65 at Diamond Country Club to finish round two 11 under par - one shot clear of England's Paul Waring, who carded a second consecutive 67, Spaniard Eduardo De La Riva, who signed for a 65, and Scotland’s Callum Macaulay, who fired a 66.

Starting from the tenth, Luiten covered the back nine in 35 with three birdies and two bogeys before coming home in 33 thanks largely to some brilliant approach shots.

And the 27 year old could have been further in front if not for missing from four feet for birdie on the third after his second shot had almost pitched straight into the hole.

“It was good,” said Luiten, whose only previous European Tour title came at the 2011 Iskandar Johor Open. “I hit some nice shots in close for birdie. I didn’t make as many putts as yesterday but I’m really happy with the score. 

“On this course you know you’re going to make a few bogeys but there are a lot of chances for birdie as well. You just have to try to stay patient and I think I did that well today.

“The greens are great, maybe the best of the season. They’ve had a lot of rain but they’re still probably the best greens we’ve played on this year. They hold the shots going in and they are quick. What a good job they’ve done here.

“You have to play smart on some holes and it’s playing long. The rough is very tough.”

England’s Tom Lewis began the day with a two shot lead over Luiten following a flawless 63 on Thursday, but could only follow that with a 74 which contained three birdies and five bogeys.

The trio immediately behind Luiten are all yet to win on The European Tour, although De La Riva came close at The Nelson Mandela Championship presented by ISPS Handa when he was beaten in a play-off by Scott Jamieson.

The Qualifying School graduate started with an eagle at the long tenth, but it was five birdies in his last seven holes that propelled him into contention.

“Five birdies in the last few holes is very good, and the last two holes were only from a couple of inches,” he said.

“I’ve played very good in some tournaments but I’ve had some problems with my putter. With some good work it’s better, today I putted very well and I’m very happy.”

Waring, who enjoyed the first top-five finish of his European Tour career at the Open de España in April, was six under par for his first 13 holes before driving into water on the 14th and having to hole a five foot putt to salvage a bogey.

The 28 year old, playing on a medical exemption after an operation on a serious wrist injury, bounced back with a birdie from close range on the next but then three-putted the 16th.

"I'm very happy," he said. "I finished a little bit poorly but I played awful the last few weeks to be honest so it's nice to feel I have got my swing back where it needs to be.

"I did a lot of work after missing the cut in Sweden and because I know the course here I even had Tuesday at home practising before flying out.

"The wrist is absolutely fine now - nothing to worry about, which is nice. I can go and play golf and practise as much as I want and we are starting to see some results out of it."

Macaulay finished with three birdies in his last four holes to join Waring on ten under par having previously made just one cut this term since coming through Qualifying School, and admitted his good form had come out of the blue.

“It’s unchartered waters for the last two or three years, and if I’m being honest it’s come out of nowhere,” he said. “I’ve had a really poor start to the season and I’ve worked exceptionally hard to improve, but things haven’t been going my way.

“I did a lot of work last weekend in Sweden with Scott Arnold, who also missed the cut, and he made a couple of suggestions. It was very simple – I was delofting my irons on the way back and not getting any height. It’s taken a lot of repetition and it still feels a little bit funny, but I just need to keep hitting balls and get more comfortable.

“This sport can change in a heartbeat and you have to keep plodding along hoping things will turn. This is a big step in the right direction. 

“I’ve got my brother caddying for me this week and he’s always pretty cool no matter what. It’ll be new for me playing in the last few groups in a European Tour event, but that’s why we play the game. We want to get better every week.”

Home favourite and defending champion Bernd Wiesberger, needing a top-12 finish to have any chance of climbing into the top 60 of the Official World Golf Ranking and qualifying for next week’s US Open Championship, has work to over the weekend after a one under par 71 left him five under and tied for 17th.

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1LUITEN, JoostNED18-17
2BJÖRN, ThomasDEN18-15
T3LIANG, Wen-chongCHN18-14
T3WATTEL, RomainFRA18-14
T5WARING, PaulENG18-13

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