An enthralling weekend lies ahead at picturesque Crans-sur-Sierre after a two way tie broke out atop the Omega European Masters leaderboard.
On a nip and tuck day in which several players assumed the outright lead without ever keeping it, Thomas Bjørn and Stephen Gallacher ultimately topped the pile.
That they did was due in no small part to Bjørn dropping a shot for the first time in the event at the end of his second round.
The Dane had previously continued his unruffled progress, making it 35 flawless holes.
Following a 66 on day one, he birdied three times apiece on the front and back nine and looked set to go one better before finding trouble at 18.
Having over-hit his approach, the 42 year old played an untypically poor chip and was agonisingly just off line with a ten footer.
“I played better today,” he said. “At the end, it was not the prettiest but I played alright and just kept my patience.
“I told myself not to make any stupid bogeys this week because everybody’s going to do that. I made one down the last, which is the first one, but it is just one of those things.
“I am happy with how I am playing; I played steady without being spectacular.”
Bjørn’s late error opened the door for Miguel Ángel Jiménez to set a new clubhouse mark.
But, having found the perfect tee shot, he also hit his approach long and subsequently made a mess with the wedge.
A bogey ultimately represented a poor end to a round that came to life on the back nine, when some excellence around the greens combined with a couple of stunning approaches.
"I feel comfortable here," he said. "I’ve been coming for 25 years and I love to come here. That’s it. You need some fortune on the golf course but you need to think where you are going to place the ball because the greens are hard.
"I enjoy it here. You have to stay patient. We are still learning after so many years on the Tour that patience is the key.
"You get your reward. I’m still learning on the 18th that I cannot play for distance. Every year, through the back, through the back. I’m still learning. We will see tomorrow!"
Jiménez will subsequently enter tomorrow a stroke adrift of Bjørn and Gallacher.
Much like that duo, Gallacher – seeking an Omega double in 2013 having won the Dubai Desert Classic – was left to rue a slightly disappointing finish.
Targeting a bogey free round to follow up yesterday’s 67, he dropped a shot at 17 and had to settle for a 65.
"First place is not bad," he enthused. "I’m happy with that. It gives me something to work on over the weekend."
He and Bjørn will be determined to avoid similar mishaps tomorrow with a hungry chasing pack ready to pounce on any mistakes.
Alongside Jiménez on nine under are English trio Tommy Fleetwood, Richard Finch and Danny Willett, as well as Frenchman Victor Dubuisson.
Of those, it was Willett who delivered the best round, his 63 representing the finest effort managed by anyone in the field today.
|T5||JIMÉNEZ, Miguel Angel||ESP||18||-15|