Feb 16, 2018: Matthieu Pavon drew on his past experience at Al Mouj Golf to hold the midway lead at the inaugural NBO Oman Open. India’s S.S.P Chawrasia shot three-under 69 to move 11 spots ahead in the leaderboard.
Chawrasia shot flawless front nine with four birdies and added another birdie with two bogeys in the back nine. He carded two-under 142 total and lying at T33.
The Muscat layout was playing host to a European Tour event for the first time but has hosted five events on the Challenge Tour, including the season-ending NBO Golf Classic Grand Final from 2015-2017.
Pavon finished in a tie for third at that event in 2016 as he graduated from the Challenge Tour and enjoyed a successful rookie season last term, finishing 49th on the Race to Dubai Rankings presented by Rolex.
The Frenchman is still searching for a first win on the European Tour and put himself in an excellent position on Friday as a second-round 65 moved him to 11 under and gave him a two-shot lead over England’s Matthew Southgate.
“It’s a lot of good memories that help,” he said. “When you play bad on some courses and you are going back the next year or you have some bad memories, here is just the opposite. I just have so many good memories so I’ll just try to surf on them.
“I’m feeling good in my game, very happy right now so I’ll just take it easy and we will see what happens.
“I really enjoyed every part of my game today. Everything was really consistent and solid, I played a lot of good shots, holed a few really good putts so everything was just perfect today.”
Southgate had set the clubhouse target in the morning with a 70 that would have been better but for a poor tee-shot on the last.
He entered the day in a share of the lead with Waring and made birdies on the third and seventh with a bogey on the 12th as the two could not be separated. An eagle on the 12th and a birdie 16th put him three shots ahead but he made a double-bogey on the 18th after taking three off the tee.
I just have so many good memories so I’ll just try to surf on them – Matthieu Pavon
Pavon was in the first group out in the afternoon and as soon as Southgate had posted the lead in the clubhouse lead he had matched it on the course, making birdies on the third, fifth, sixth and eighth with a six-footer on the ninth handing him a share.
Another birdie on the tenth gave him the lead on his own and when he got on the par five 12th in two and two-putted from around 50 feet, the advantage was two shots.
The 25 year old three-putted the next but hit a nice an approach into the 14th to get the shot back before getting up and down from 120 yards after a poor tee-shot to save par on the 15th as he came home without a further blemish.
Waring signed for a 71 with birdies on the seventh and eighth and a bogey on the 13th.
The 30 year old made birdies on the second and fifth and eagled the par five seventh before making another gain on the ninth to turn in 31. A monster putt on the 12th then moved him to eight under.
Huizing is playing on an invite this week but, like Pavon, has previous experience over the course and he sandwiched birdies on the 14th, 18th and third with bogeys on the tenth and fifth in a 71.
Another Dutchman in Joost Luiten fired a 66 to sit at six under alongside Frenchman Julien Guerrier and Swede Marcus Kinhult, who both signed for rounds of 69.
Open Championship winner and 2014 Ryder Cup Captain Darren Clarke was then in a group of nine players six shots off the lead.
European Tour Release
- In this article