Italian Andrea Pavan holds a staggering seven shot lead at the halfway stage of the Kärnten Golf Open presented by Mazda after carding an eight under par 64 in the second round.
The 22 year old had seven birdies, one bogey and an eagle – holing his approach on the par four 13th - to add to his nine under par 63 in the first round, and at 17 under he is streets ahead of Englishman Chris Paisley and Austrian Roland Steiner, who are both at ten under after rounds of 65 and 68 respectively.
Germany’s Christoph Günther, who won here two years ago, and Swede Bjorn Åkesson are another shot back at nine under.
Despite tearing up Golf Club Klagenfurt-Seltenheim for the second day running to comfortably beat the season’s previous best 36-hole score of ten under, Pavan refused to get carried away by his sizeable lead.
“It’s good but it’s only halfway,” said the Rome resident who turned professional last year. “I drove the ball really well and only missed a couple of fairways today, and not by much. At the end of the round yesterday I was feeling like I couldn’t control my ball flight very well, but it was better today.
“On the 13th I had a 119-metre approach and played it straight at the pin. It drifted a bit right and spun back in the hole – although I couldn’t see it at the time as I was slightly below the hole. The guy in the green was clapping so I knew it was close, then Pierre (Relecom) said to me, ‘Dude, you holed it’.
“I made a three-putt on the sixth which was annoying as I was in the middle of the fairway and if you’re on the fairway on this course you’ve got a good chance for birdie. But I hit it long and left – still on the green – and then mis-hit my putt so it was still two or three metres short, then I missed the second one.
“That was a disappointing bogey, but at the end of the day I’m happy because I kept my head when things weren’t going well. I just stayed calm. I holed a couple of long putts – on the 11th and the ninth – but I missed a couple of short ones too.
“It’s only halfway so I’ll just try and play my game and not even count my score, just try and make as many birdies as I can. Hopefully I can keep playing the way I am. My game has worked very well the first two days so I’ll be playing the same at the weekend and I think patience will be the key.”
Earlier Paisley, playing in the €160,000 event on a sponsor’s invitation, set the clubhouse lead with a seven under par 65. The 25 year old was part of the Great Britain and Ireland Walker Cup team in 2009 and is currently leading the Alps Tour Order of Merit.
He said: “I played a lot better than I did yesterday. Yesterday I really struggled and still managed to shoot three under somehow. Today I hit it really well and didn’t have any bogeys and holed a few good putts, so I’m very happy.
“It’s strange because first thing this morning it was raining heavily and I thought it was going to be a long day. I only hit a few balls to warm up and I was just hoping it would stop raining, and luckily it did. I hit a few really nice shots down the first couple of holes and I got some confidence going from that.”
Steiner, who coincidentally also holed his second shot for eagle at the 13th, felt his round was tarnished by a bogey at the last.
“It was a stupid bogey and annoying because I birdied the eighth and it gave me confidence,” he said. “I had a lot of chances today but didn’t hole many putts. I was four under after five holes but from then on I couldn’t take my opportunities.
“You have to say well done to Andrea, and it just shows those kind of scores are possible on this course. We saw it two years ago and last year with players scoring 62, 63. It is good for the sport but for me personally I hope he doesn’t continue scoring like this.”
Günther, who posted a course record 62 en route to his 2009 victory, is pleased to be in contention once again – albeit a few more shots behind the leader than he would have liked.
“I was a bit shaky at first and I always find the front nine tougher,” he said. “Once I got to the tenth tee I knew I could make some birdies and I did. I’m just happy to be here for the weekend and be in with a chance – you never know.
“When I finished today I said to my caddie I thought I’d be four or five shots off the lead, but in fact it’s eight shots.”