September 02, 2016: Romain Langasque fired a brilliant 63 to set the second-round clubhouse target on a morning of low scoring at the Omega European Masters. Richard Bland and Richard Green played well to catch up with the Frenchman. Arjun Atwal and Rashid Khan played well on Friday to progress into the weekend, but four other Indian golfers missed the cut.
Rashid played one of the best rounds of the day, producing a thrilling 65 to end the day in T39. It was a massive performance from the Delhi golfer who recovered from three over 73 in the first round.
The 501st ranked Indian fired eight birdies in one of his best rounds of golf in recent memory. Khan played good golf on Thursday too, but for the five shots he surrendered in the last three holes.
Atwal was lying T65 after shooting five birdies and four bogeys in the second round. He started the day at one over, but the 69 in the second meant that he entered the weekend with an even par score of 140.
Chiragh Kumar fell to four over through ten holes and never quite recovered from there. The resolute young man played well from there, making seven pars and a birdie at the ninth hole. But the 73 he made left him at two over, well below the cut line.
SSP Chawrasia must be feeling gutted. He produced a spotless performance on Friday, firing four birdies for a brilliant 66. But he was way too far even then to make a complete recovery from the bruising 79 in the first round.
Langasque made an eagle and five birdies as he moved to nine under, one shot clear of Alex Noren who also posted a bogey-free 63.
Andrew Johnston was then at seven under, with 18 players within four shots of the lead at Crans-sur-Sierre Golf Club.
Langasque burst onto the scene when he won the 2015 Amateur Championship and he then secured a top 40 finish at the Masters Tournament. Since then he has surged to the top of the Challenge Tour rankings but was playing just his fifth European Tour event this week.
He looked very comfortable in the Alps, though, with an eagle on the par five 14th sandwiched by birdies on the 11th and 17th as he turned in 31.
A glorious approach to six feet on the fifth moved him ahead on his own before further gains on the drivable seventh and the par five ninth.
Playing partner Johnston had hit the front with birdies on the 14th and 15th but a bogey on the 17th saw him slip back into a share of the lead.
The Englishman picked up a further shot on the seventh as he took a brave line to drive the green and get to seven under.
The 2009 champion continued in that vein on Friday with birdies on the 11th, 13th, 14th, first, fifth, seventh and ninth – the highlight being a 20-foot putt on the fifth.
Frenchman Julien Quesne was the first of the afternoon starters to make a move as he progressed to seven under with two birdies in his first five holes.
Paul Peterson remained at six under after four pars with fellow overnight leader Mike Lorenzo-Vera due out in the penultimate group of the day.
Callum Shinkwin closed with a birdie on the last to sign for a 68 and join the group at six under.
England’s Ross Fisher was another player to equal the low round of the week, making three closing birdies on his way to a 63 to sit alongside countrymen Tommy Fleetwood, David Howell and Graeme Storm, and French duo Grégory Havret and Alexander Levy.
Australian trio Marcus Fraser, Richard Green and Scott Hend were also at five under in the early stages of their rounds alongside defending champion Danny Willett and Italy’s Nino Bertasio.