Robert Coles (Getty Images)
England’s Robert Coles shot a sparkling 65 to share the clubhouse lead with Dutchman Joost Luiten during the second round of the Austrian GolfOpen presented by Lyoness.
The 39 year old Coles, who has never won in 15 years on The European Tour, produced a brilliant seven under par bogey-free round.
Coles came closest to victory at this year’s Avantha Masters, where needing a four at the par five closing hole he took four from the edge of the green for a bogey six.
But he had no such problems seeing out his second round at Diamond Country Club, firing a hattrick of gains from the sixth, culminating in a 60 foot birdie putt at the eighth.
“I made quite a few long putts so I proabbly turned a 68 into a 65,” said Coles. “I’m not going to complain about that.
“You have got to hit the fairways here if you want to make a score. I have been driving it better this week because it had been pretty terrible recently. It feels a lot better better now.
“I really enjoyed it out there today and that is always the key for me. If I am happy and enjoying my golf then I will generally play well so hopefully I can keep doing that over the weekend and we will see what happens.”
He was joined on seven under par by Luiten, who added a two under 70 to his opening 67.
Also seeking his maiden European Tour title, the 25 year old carded back-to-back birdies at the third and fourth, the first from 25 feet followed by an approach to within a foot at the next.
“My short game has kept me in with a chance so far,” said Luiten. “I have hit a few misses but they have been good missses if you can say that, and I have to hang in there and stay close to the lead and then see what we can do on Sunday. I really like to play with the pressure of the final round.”
They were two clear of Australian Daniel Gaunt and Austrian amateur Matthias Schwab, with Italy’s Emanuele Canonica on the same mark with one hole to play and Dane Thomas Nørret, who was amongst the afternoon starters and through six holes.
Overnight leader Liam Bond slipped back to four under with a 74.
The Welsh rookie – who graduated from Qualifying School at the 16th attempt last November – had four birdies but also two bogeys and double bogeys at the first and 11th.