The 24 year old began the day four shots off the top but came flying out of the blocks with a birdie at the 10th hole, his first, before he gained two more shots at the 12th and 15th and a bogey at the par four 18th hole took him to the turn in two under par.The round took flight on his back nine with three consecutive birdies from the first hole before picking up three more shots to finish the day on ten under par, two shots clear of compatriot Phillip Archer, Frenchman Baptiste Chapellan and Sweden’s Steven Jeppesen.
After a disappointing season on The European Tour, Hutsby has returned to the Challenge Tour and had thus far struggled to make an impact – missing the cut in Spain last week despite an albatross.But the Portsmouth native is delighted to be back on his game as he chases a maiden Challenge Tour title this weekend.
“I hit it close at the 10th and holed the putt so that was a nice start and from there on I just putted really well,” said Hutsby. “The greens are rolling really nice, they’re soft so if you get the yardage right you can get it close and then they roll really well. It’s obviously a nice feeling to capitalise on the chances you give yourself.“I played quite poorly yesterday and my driving wasn’t good. I played the par threes in three under but the par fives in two over so I thought if I could do well on the par fives today it would be a better day and I did a bit of work on the range on my ball flight and it paid off.”
Hutsby admits that it has been a struggle this season on The European Tour, having finished runner-up at Qualifying School Final Stage last year, but is feeling a new lease of life after changing his background team and feels like his game is on the up.“It’s been a terrible year for me on The European Tour,” he said. “I've just changed management companies to TB Golf Management though, which is run by my old county manager who looked after me since I was a young lad, so I have a fantastic support team now and maybe that’s what I need.
“I'm really happy with the team I have now and the only thing that is missing is results. That might take time but I have played solid the last few weeks.“I had an albatross last week and that’s carried on a bit this week. It would be nice to have a fantastic result but I would need to have a miracle end to the season to do well on the Challenge Tour Rankings so I'm kind of looking ahead to Qualifying School now and getting prepared for that.”
In second place on eight under par were Archer, Jeppesen and Chapellan, who was the leading Frenchman after a three under par second round of 68.The story of the week for the locals, however, may well be that of 17 year old amateur Romain Langasque who is just four shots off the lead on his Challenge Tour debut as he looks to emulate Julien Brun, who became the sixth amateur to win on the tour at the ALLIANZ Golf Open Toulouse Metropole two weeks ago.