England’s Jamie Elson stormed to the top of the leaderboard in the second round of the Swiss Challenge with a five under par 66 on another glorious day at Golf Sempachersee.
At 11 under par the 32 year old leads by two shots from a quartet of players – Frenchmen Julien Guerrier (69) and Victor Riu (64), England’s Steven Tiley (65) and Korean Sihwan Kim (66), while Stuart Manley and Ben Parker, who both had a share of the first-round lead, slipped back.
Elson again attributed his low round to some fine work with the putter, saying: “It was much the same as yesterday really. I holed a lot of putts again, which was pleasing as the greens were better this morning. Yesterday they deteriorated as the day went on.
“I feel great with the putter – it’s amazing how you can change a little thing and all of a sudden the putts go in. I’ve not been practising my putting that much, but I’m just trying to relax more over my putts and obviously it’s working.
Elson, who has had top ten finishes in two of the biggest events on the Challenge Tour schedule, in Saint-Omer and Madeira, this season to lie 38th in the Rankings added: “I still don’t feel great with my long game, but I was able to hit it in the right spots, and I got up and down well with the wedge, which is good because there are a lot of wedge approaches here.”
“The finish was a bit frustrating, dropping a couple in the last few holes, but all in all I’m very happy.”
For Tiley, a good performance in Switzerland would be the perfect precursor to next week’s Open Championship at Muirfield, for which he earned a place in the field through Local Final Qualifying earlier this month.
Indeed, Tiley is something of an Open qualifying specialist, having made it through three times from four attempts.
“I’m playing well and really looking forward to next week,” said the Kent man, who shot a first round 66 in The 139th Open Championship at St Andrews in 2010. “It was nice to qualify again and I’ll be heading up there on Monday, but first I’ve got to focus on doing as well as I can here.”
Riu had the joint lowest round of the day and was delighted to be in contention to win his first Challenge Tour title.
“I’ve been playing well the last few weeks and it’s a great feeling to be up near the top of the leaderboard here,” he said. “Everything in my game is working very well and I hope it continues.”
His compatriot Guerrier, who was one of three first-round leaders, endured a more difficult day after an opening 64, saying: “It was a very frustrating day on the greens. I putted very badly, which is very different from yesterday. I had two three-putts and I missed a couple of putts from inside two metres.
“I also had some bad luck today with good shots just missing, and the wind changing direction while my ball was in the air. But I’m in a good position and I’m excited to be in contention heading into the weekend.”
Former world number one tennis player Yevgeny Kafelnikov was in the field as he continues his foray into professional golf, but comfortably missed the cut with rounds of 84 and 83.