Thorbjørn Olesen’s fantastic form showed no sign of abating as the Dane established a three shot clubhouse lead midway through the second round of the Lyoness Open powered by Greenfinity.
The 22 year old, whose first European Tour title came at the Sicilian Open in April, finished ninth in last week’s Open Championship at Royal Lytham & St Annes – his sixth top-ten of the season.
Starting the day one behind Spaniard Pablo Larrazábal, Olesen’s first task was to complete his first round after lengthy rain delays on the opening day.
He played the last four holes in one under par courtesy of a birdie at the 17th hole to match Larrazábal’s round of 64, then after a quick turnaround signed for a second round of 68.
Starting on the back nine, he turned in 35 after two birdies and a bogey at Diamond Country Club, but saved his best work for the front nine.
In perfect conditions a million miles from Wednesday’s downpours, Olesen holed birdie putts from 12 and 25 feet at the fourth and fifth respectively, before striking his approach shot to three feet at the eighth hole.
“There was quite a strong wind out there at times,” said Olesen. “I struggled a bit round the turn and hit a few bad drives, but I managed to hit some good shots coming home, so I’m happy to get in on 12 under par. It’s been a long day, but a very good one.
“I’ve been playing well for the past few months really, so I don’t see any reason why I shouldn’t win again. I’m just looking forward to the next two days now, hopefully I can get the job done.”
At 12 under par for the tournament, he was three shots clear of Thomas Levet, who carded four birdies and two bogeys in a second round 70.
The Frenchman struggled with his pace on the greens, but was still satisfied with his morning’s work.
He said: “I was very pleased with some parts of my game, but not so pleased with other parts. I lost the speed of the greens, so struggled to make many putts. Uphill I was getting too aggressive, then downhill I was leaving them short, which was frustrating.
“On number eight for example, I put my ball in the best possible position on the green. It was a straight putt uphill, but I knocked it long and left and then missed the one coming back. So it was a frustrating day on the greens, but my mental approach was very good and I’m swinging the club quite well, so there are more positives than negatives to take from the day.”
England’s Richard Bland (67) and Dutchman Wil Besseling (72) were next best on eight and seven under par respectively.
Home favourite Bernd Wiesberger, the Ballantine’s Championship winner, shot a superb round of 66 to move into contention on seven under par for the tournament.
Overnight leader Pablo Larrazábal of Spain struggled to maintain his momentum, and the Spaniard was on two over par for his round when play was suspended due to the threat of thunderstorms in Atzenbrugg.