Khan pleased to be in the hunt

10/14/2011 2:25:37 PM
Simon Khan  (Getty Images)
Simon Khan (Getty Images)
Simon Khan is aiming to “enjoy the pressure” over the weekend after taking the clubhouse lead during the second round of the Portugal Masters.

England’s 2010 BMW PGA Championship winner has had something of a subdued season to date, with a fifth-place finish in France his best result of 2011 so far.

But eight birdies in a six under par 66 took the 39 year old to 13 under at Oceânico Victoria Golf Course, one ahead of Welshman Rhys Davies.

“I started great - birdied the first two holes and that settled me down quickly,” said Khan.

“I hit it perfect. I think that you have to be positive around this course, and if the wind gets up a little bit, it can be a little bit more testing. You've just got to hit your wedges close and definitely get the putter going, that's the key. 

“It's been a great two days. It's not been a brilliant year overall, but I always feel good coming around this course and enjoy playing in Portugal. I'm delighted with the two days. 

“I think the thing is to enjoy the position I'm in and enjoy the pressure - hopefully I'm leading - and carry that on into the weekend. We are only halfway through the tournament, so still lots of birdies to be made hopefully.”

At 51st on The Race to Dubai, Davies can confirm his place at the season ending Dubai World Championship with a good showing on the Algarve.

And the former Trophée Hassan II winner impressed with seven birdies in a round of 67 to be 12 under at the halfway stage.

The 26 year old will certainly appreciate the late start on Saturday, with Wales facing France in the semi-final of the Rugby World Cup at 9am.

“I think we have a great chance,” said Davies. “We have a really tough team to play against, there's no doubt about it. I think the French are quite unpredictable. 

“Thomas Levet was trying to tell me how dominant they were earlier, but I'm having none of it. I back my boys and I think they are great stuff. They have a really great team chemistry going it seems, and they are playing some really good rugby.  We are fully confident on the weekend that we can turn them over tomorrow.”

Swede Christian Nilsson birdied the last four holes – a run that started with a 40 foot birdie putt on the 15th – to sign for a 64 and 11 under total, where he was joined by South African James Kingston, the overnight leader playing his first six holes in three under.

Former amateur star Tom Lewis birdied nine holes out of 11 from the 13th to be in the chasing pack on ten under, along with Keith Horne (65) and Felipe Aguilar, who was four under for the day through eight.

World Number Six Martin Kaymer – looking to make gains in The Race to Dubai with the four players above him taking a week off – holed a brilliant 50 foot birdie putt on the difficult seventh en route to a 68 and nine under halfway total.