Peter Hedblom (Getty Images)
Peter Hedblom admits he loves the idea of a fairytale victory after boosting his chances of securing the win he needs to retain his European Tour card by opening up a two shot lead at the halfway stage of the ISPS HANDA Perth International in Western Australia.
Only the top 110 players on The Race to Dubai come close of play on Sunday will secure playing privileges for next season, and at 179th in the rankings it is a case of win or bust for Swede Hedblom.
“Definitely; I love fairy tales,” said Hedblom, when asked if he believed in a dream end to a difficult year.
“My best friend on Tour, Michael Jonzon, in 2009 he was like me, way back and needed to win.
“I think he needed top three in Castellón in 2009, which was his last tournament, and he won it, beat Martin Kaymer. That was a fairytale story.”
The 43 year old, who has won three European Tour titles but had to go through Qualifying School last year after finishing 143rd on The Race to Dubai, began the day in a four-way tie for the lead after an opening 68.
He was surpassed by England’s Ross Fisher before teeing off as the former Ryder Cup star reached five under par at Lake Karrinyup with a 67, but birdied the first and fourth to retake the lead.
A dropped shot at the sixth followed, but a two-putt birdie at the seventh and ten footer at the ninth saw him turn in 33.
Hedblom twice extended his lead on the way in with gains at the 13th and 15th, but dropped shots at the 14th and 17th meant a second round 69 and seven under par halfway total.
“It's been two great days,” he added. “But my golf is strange right now, because I hit really good shots, and some really poor shots, but my putting has been good. So it's great right now to be leading.
“It's been a while – 2009 was my last win, but I know I have the game to do it. Right now would be good. We'll see, I think the closer you get to Sunday it's going to be harder.
“I don't really have anything to lose. If I want to play another full year on Tour, I need to win. You just have to go for it and have fun.”
Fisher is currently 65th in The Race to Dubai and looking to break into the top 60 who will earn a place in next month’s DP World Tour Championship.
The four-time European Tour winner chipped in from the bunker at the sixth for one of six birdies, with his only dropped shot of the day coming at the 18th – his ninth – to sit second, one shot ahead of Dane Søren Hansen, Korea’s former Amateur Champion Jin Jeong and Australians Clint Rice, Josh Younger and Dimitrios Papadatos.
“I want to try and get in the top 60,” Fisher said of his Race to Dubai aspirations.
“It would be for me a great achievement having played the first half of the year in the States. My first tournament in Europe counting wise wasn't till May.
“So I've always been playing catch up, but I can be really proud of how I've played the second half of the year.
“A good week here, hopefully that gets me into next week in China. Not out of the question if I won this week, hopefully that would put me into the HSBC - that would be huge. There are some big tournaments left: obviously this week first and hopefully I can do enough here to get myself into next week, possibility the HSBC, Turkey and Dubai.
“The ultimate goal would be to get myself into Dubai, but I need to play very well this week to allow myself to try and get into next week.”
Dane Hansen was a member of Sir Nick Faldo’s Ryder Cup side in 2008, but has slipped to 137th in The Race to Dubai.
While most outside the top 110 are in the last-chance saloon to move up the rankings and keep their cards for next season, Hansen is in the top 40 career earners and thus exempt for next year,
“Obviously that relaxes me a little bit and I feel for the guys who are playing for their privilege to play on The European Tour,” said Hansen after a second round 69.
“I played with Oliver Fisher and he's played really, really got last two days, shot level par, but should probably have been a lot better really. I feel for him and hope he can have a good week.”