Incredibly, Houston soared to the summit despite being diagnosed with vertigo just last Sunday before almost pulling out of the tournament due to an onset of symptoms.But the Challenge Tour winner completely turned things around by negotiating the first two rounds without a single bogey, starting his second round with a birdie on the first before gaining two more shots at the fourth and ninth holes to reach the turn in three under par.
Another birdie at the par three 12th moved the 41 year old right into contention before a superb three wood to the par-five 17th green set up a two-putt for birdie and he finished with another at the 18th to join Mommo at the top.“Overall I'm really pleased,” said Houston, who qualified for The European Tour through the Challenge Tour in 2004. “That’s quite a good round here because if you go off track you’re in trouble. I hit a lot of fairways and I haven’t missed a green yet so I'm pleased with that.
“I hit it straight all day, which you have to do around here. I holed a long putt at the first, missed a short one at the second and then holed another long one at the fourth – the front nine kind of panned out like that, missing shorter ones but holing the 20 to 25 footers.“That was good to get me going. I holed a big putt at the 12th and played really well coming in without making birdies for a few holes and then finished well.
“Maybe I was a bit calmer today. I was diagnosed with vertigo on Sunday and I almost pulled out because I didn’t want to get off the pillow on Thursday morning but I thought, ‘I’ll go and see what happens’ and maybe that has just slowed me down a bit and helped me feel a bit calmer.”Mommo, meanwhile, is playing in just his third Challenge Tour event of the season and, like Houston, boasts two bogey-free scorecards at Golf Sempachersee, outside Lucerne.
Having teed off on the ninth, the 34 year old opened with a birdie and gained another shot at the 14th before chipping in at the 18th for another. Birdies at the third and fourth holes elevated him to seven under and he gained another shot at the par five seventh to briefly take the outright lead before being joined by his Welsh counter-part.“My putter was hot today and that was the main thing,” he said. “I ended up in the rough a few times and had to lay up three times on par fours but I grinded to make pars. Those pars were just as important as the birdies.
“I hit my wedges really close and chipped in once. I didn’t hole really long putts but I holed a lot of mid-length putts and every time I hit anything close, I holed it. I'm really looking forward to the weekend now. I'm going to enjoy it as much as I can.”Luke Goddard shot one of the rounds of the day as the young Englishman signed for a seven under par 64 to move 58 places up the leaderboard and into tied second alongside Andrea Perrino of Italy and France’s Alexandre Kaleka on seven under, one shot off the lead.
Perrino had earlier taken the clubhouse lead thanks to a five under par 66, while Kaleka entered the fray late in the day thanks to a six under par round of 65.There were three players a shot further back in tied fifth place – Gary Stal, a winner already on the Challenge Tour this season, Spain’s Agustin Domingo and first round leader Joachim B Hansen, who couldn’t match the heroics of his nine under par opening round of 62 as he fell back with a three over par round of 74.