Graeme Storm (Getty Images)
Graeme Storm has the opportunity to bring months of concern to an end by securing his European Tour card for another season at the KLM Open.
Storm is in pole position to triumph in Hilversum, having opened up a three shot lead at the halfway stage courtesy of bogey free rounds of 63 and 66.
At 11 under, he leads by three from Scott Jamieson, Gonzalo Fernandez-Castaño and Peter Hanson, the latter one of three Ryder Cup players in contention; Nicolas Colsaerts shot 65 to reach five under, while Martin Kaymer - the winner here in 2010 - is a shot further back.
Although he is eager to secure a second European Tour title, Storm admits his primary focus is on securing a top 115 finish in The Race to Dubai.
He currently lies 114th, with the closing stages of the season fast approaching.
Asked if the order of merit had been on his mind, the Englishman replied: “Every day. It has been for the last three months. It is a big struggle missing so many cuts.
“I played nicely last week (en route to a share of 41st place in the Omega European Masters) and I was hoping to bring it here. At the moment I am and I just hope it continues.
“It makes a change to have all red on my card. Hopefully I used all the bogeys up last week in Crans.
“The goal for me still is to keep my card, even though I am leading. If someone comes through then so be it, I just need my card for next year.”
Together with Colsaerts, Fernandez-Castaño was the pick of the morning starters, carding four birdies and an eagle either side of a solitary dropped shot.
“I think I could have hit the ball better but my scoring was very good thanks to my short game,” said the Spaniard.
“Overall I am very happy with eight under after two rounds. This is one of my favourite courses of the year. It gets the best out of my game.”
Hanson made solid progress in a second successive 66, mixing 15 pars with two birdies and an eagle at the par five 12th.
Jamieson, who started at the tenth, roared into contention after picking up seven shots in the first 10 holes of his round, but lost his outright hold on second with a bogey at the sixth.
Pablo Larrazábal and Shiv Kapur shared fifth, two behind the second placed trio, while Ireland’s Simon Thornton finished with an eagle to match Jamieson’s 64 and move into the group at five under.
Defending champion Simon Dyson, a winner of this event on three occasions, was a shot worse off after a 66.