Julien Quesne (-9) - Omega European Masters day 2 (Getty Images)
Julien Quesne produced a dream finish to claim the halfway lead in the Omega European Masters.
Frenchman Quesne, who claimed his maiden European Tour title at March’s Open de Andalucía Costa del Sol, picked up shots on his final four holes after starting at the tenth to reach nine under.
In all, he fired seven birdies and an eagle in a 65 that earned him a one shot lead over Danny Willett.
“I took a lot of pleasure from how I played today,” said Quesne.
“I hit so many good shots; I managed to stay calm and I holed a lot of putts.
“My final round in Andalucia was the best of my career, because it was under a lot of pressure. But today was probably my second best, because the conditions were very tough and I hardly missed a shot. So I'm very happy.”
Willett, who went round in 67 for a second straight day, has revealed his determination to make winning a habit, having also triumphed for the first time earlier this year.
The Englishman was victorious at the BMW International Open in June and said: “It’s all too easy to switch off mentally after a win, because you’ve got your card for another couple of years.
“It depends what kind of personality you are really, but I want to taste that winning feeling every week I pitch up.
“It isn’t realistic, but that’s the goal, and as long as you’re in with a decent shout come Sunday, you know you’ve played well.”
Paul Lawrie still has the opportunity to record back to back victories; the Scot sits third on seven under
Lawrie, part of the European Ryder Cup Team and the winner of last week’s Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles, picked up five shots in a front nine 31, before mixing two birdies with as many bogeys on the way home.
“I played lovely again today, hit a lot of good putts - not all of them went in, but a fair few did. So I'm very happy with my day's work, despite the weather,” said the Scot.
“A lot of guys don't like playing in the cold and the wet, but that plays into the hands of people like me who don't mind it.
“I've had a couple of decent sleeps, so I feel fine and raring to go. There's a nice, relaxed feel to this week anyway, which always helps.”
David Howell, Marcus Fraser, Robert Coles and Tommy Fleetwood were a shot further adrift, the latter having leaped into contention courtesy of a 66.
“I've hardly put a foot wrong,” said Fleetwood. “It was so stress-free - I couldn't have shot any worse than five under.”
Play was abandoned at 7:45pm local time with two groups still on the course due to poor visibility.
Sam Little, tied for eighth at five under, was among those yet to complete his second round.