Dinwiddie’s sweet 66 earns share of French lead

6/14/2013 6:34:00 PM
Robert Dinwiddie  (Getty Images)
Robert Dinwiddie (Getty Images)
Robert Dinwiddie joined South Africa’s Tjaart Van der Walt at the top in the Najeti Hotels et Golfs Open presented by Neuflize OBC as a five under par second round 66 earned the Englishman a share of the overnight lead heading into the weekend.

On a day when the much more favourable weather was not complemented by low scoring at the higher end of the leaderboard, Dinwiddie’s bogey-free round was the most significant as he slimbed 14 places to the summit on four under early on in the second day.

As the sun came out and the winds died down in benign afternoon conditions, Van der Walt and Englishman Daniel Brooks both looked to be storming clear of the field but came sliding back down on the back nine.

Van der Walt had three bogeys on the way home for a two over back nine and a level par round of 71, while Brooks suffered four bogeys on the back nine to also sign for a 71, making Dinwiddie’s round in the morning winds look all the more impressive.

“I played really steady so I’m happy,” said the 30 year old, who was the joint overnight leader after days two and three of the Telenet Trophy on the Challenge Tour three weeks ago. “I played just as well yesterday but the weather helped.

“I know the course very well and I have a lot of good feelings around here. I did not think I would be leading after the afternoon but I knew I was in a good position no matter what.

“I holed two really good putts for birdie, first at 14 - that one was from about 30 feet - and then a 25-footer at 15. I hit it to about five feet at 17 and holed that before knocking it stone dead on five for birdie. Then I hit a nine iron into about seven feet and holed that for my last birdie.

“Considering I didn’t think I would be teeing it up, after taking a bad step on Tuesday morning and damaging a bad disc in my back, it was great.

“I couldn’t hit a ball on Wednesday so I honestly thought I had no chance, but I just iced it and took a lot of anti-inflammatories and recovered so I'm delighted with how I've played.”

Van der Walt, meanwhile, was disappointed with his finish, after carding three birdies in an impressive front nine to move three clear of Dinwiddie temporarily, but was happy to still be in a great position to claim a first European Tour title at the end of it all.

“I played really solid the first few holes and it seemed no matter where I was on the green I made putts,” said the 38 year old. “I bogeyed the par five ninth though with a six iron in my hand and that took the momentum out of my round a little.

“I didn’t hit bad shots but my chipping around the greens was not great and all my bogeys were from next to the green. I'm disappointed but I'm still in there and I was shocked walking up 18 to see I was still top.

“I'm still optimistic for the weekend, if I can keep striking the ball well and get my wedge to work a bit better who knows what can happen.”

Two Englishmen, Simon Wakefield – who was forced to carry his own bag for the opening two days after losing his caddie to injury – and Chris Hanson, were joined by local favourite Victor Riu in tied third place with an intriguing moving day in store in northern France.