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Simon Forsström keeps his nose in front as home star Thomas Detry shines in Belgium

Simon Forsström keeps his nose in front as home star Thomas Detry shines in Belgium

Simon Forsström remained the man to catch at the halfway stage of the 2023 Soudal Open after posting a sensational 67 on Friday.

The 34-year-old began the day with a one-shot lead and managed to hold on to his slender advantage after carding five birdies and a single bogey in his second round to reach 11 under par.

Swede Forsström produced a series of magic moments on day two, going close to holing his tee-shot on the 15th before chipping in from the rough around the sixth green.

He heads into the weekend one stroke ahead of nearest challenger Jeong weon Ko after the Frenchman posted a second successive round of 66.

Home favourite Thomas Detry was then in solo third on nine under, with the Belgian star making seven birdies and two bogeys in his 66.

Starting from the tenth tee, Forsström opened with five pars before notching a close-range birdie at the par-three 15th.

He picked up another birdie from 22 feet at the first but gave the shot straight back with his first bogey of the week at the second.

After bouncing back with a seven-foot birdie on the fifth, Forsström made it two in a row in style as he chipped in having missed the green at the sixth.

A birdie from the fringe at the eighth then lifted Forsström to 11 under, and he safely parred the ninth to remain at the top of the leaderboard as he looks to claim his maiden DP World Tour title.

He said: "I only made one bogey so it was pretty solid.

"I hit a lot of greens. I think I only chipped three times in two rounds so I think that's the key.

"It's been a good start so I feel it's going to be a good experience to play tomorrow."

Ko also started from the tenth and sandwiched a birdie at the 12th between bogeys on the tenth and 13th before making four straight gains from the 16th.

He got another at the third before closing with a long-range birdie on the ninth.

Ko said: "I was in this position a few times last year on the Challenge Tour. It’s not too different, just with more people watching."

Detry turned in 33 after making a hat-trick of birdies from the fifth.

He closed to within one of the lead after a late birdie blitz but bogeyed the 18th to sit two shots back.

The Belgian is also searching for his first win on the DP World Tour, and he admitted it would be a dream to get it at home.

He said: "Winning an event is great, winning your first event is even better and winning it at home would be just an absolute dream. I’m just going to try and enjoy it and we’ll see what happens."

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