July 28, 2018: Bryson DeChambeau fired a second-round 68 to stay at the top of the leaderboard and take a one-shot lead into the weekend at the Porsche European Open.
The American had set the pace on Thursday with a 66 and moved into double figures on Friday at Green Eagle Golf Courses to lead the way from Englishman Richard McEvoy and Austria’s Matthias Schwab.
Masters Tournament champion Patrick Reed was then at eight under after setting the target in the morning, alongside Scotsman David Drysdale and France’s Romain Wattel.
DeChambeau announced himself to the European Tour in 2016 when, still as an amateur, he fired an opening 64 in his first ever regular event in Abu Dhabi against a field including Major Championship winners Rory McIlroy, Henrik Stenson and Jordan Spieth.
This week in Hamburg is just his second professional appearance on European soil in a regular event but he has looked very much at home as he goes in search of a first European Tour title.
McEvoy and Schwab are also seeking their maiden wins on the European Tour, although for McEvoy it would be a second victorious week in a row after his triumph at Le Vaudreuil Golf Challenge on the Challenge Tour.
Frenchman Alexander Levy and Wales’ Bradley Dredge were three shots off top spot on a congested leaderboard.
DeChambeau made a birdie-bogey start but a left-to-righter on the ninth moved him back into red numbers and he did well to save par after finding water off the tee on the next.
He did drop a shot on the 11th but he holed a 15-footer on the 12th and made a putt from the fringe on the 13th to join Reed and Schwab at the top of the leaderboard.
He laid up on the par five 15th to set up another gain and while Schwab joined him in top spot, a closing birdie after finding the final green in two moved him ahead alone once more.
“I’m absolutely satisfied,” he said. “The wind made playing pretty tough out there and I was fortunate enough to hit it in the right spots, miss it in the right spots, get a couple of lucky breaks and take advantage of them when I needed to.
“It wasn’t my best form but I got it around, shot four under and I stay in the hunt. Just a little frustrating off the tee today, I thought I’d worked something out yesterday and it worked a little bit but I’ve got to go back to the range and work a little harder.
“I left a couple out there but also made a couple of key ones so it averaged out.”
Schwab was bogey-free in his 67, birdieing the 14th and 16th, holing a 15-footer on the 17th and taking advantage of the last to hit top spot. A left-to-righter on the third kept him in the lead but six closing pars allowed DeChambeau to sneak ahead.
“I was hitting it well and putted well too, made a few good putts and got up and down where I missed the greens so it’s been a good round,” he said. “I’m really looking forward to the weekend. It’s a really good position to be in and I’m sure it will be a great weekend for me.”
An eagle on the last helped move McEvoy into contention, adding to birdies on the first, fifth, ninth, tenth, 11th and 15th, and a bogey on the sixth, in the joint-lowest round of the week so far.
“I’m flying on a bit of a cloud at the moment after winning on the Challenge Tour last week and it’s been a great first few days here so I’m very pleased,” he said.
“I’ve heard that having the best score of the day, I get the chance to drive a Porsche 911 GTS for tonight and tomorrow morning which is nice.”
Reed – second in the Race to Dubai Rankings presented by Rolex – made a hat-trick of birdies from the 15th to turn in 35 and added further gains on the first and fourth. A short missed putt on the sixth dropped him back but he birdied the seventh and ninth.
“It was a lot better compared to yesterday,” said Reed. “I felt like I could go into attack mode and attack some flags and my putter’s working. When my putter gets going I’m able to make birdies.”
Wattel finished his round with five straight birdies to take his total for the day to eight, although he also made five bogeys in a 69.
Drysdale had made five birdies and two bogeys before he eagled the fourth and parred his way home in a 67.
Levy finished his round with four gains, adding to a birdie on the 14th and bogey on the tenth, while Dredge overcame a double-bogey after finding water on the 13th with six birdies and a bogey on the eighth.
Local favourite Philipp Mejow, Englishman Paul Casey, Italy’s Renato Paratore and South Korean Jeunghun Wang were six under.