Sep 08, 2018: SSP Chawrasia played spectacular golf on Friday, firing six birdies in his second round 66. The 40-year-old Indian shot up 28 spots on the leaderboard, reaching the weekend at 5-under 135. Hideto Tanihara carded a 66 to set the clubhouse target and open up a three-shot lead midway through day two of the Omega European Masters.
Chawrasia took just 31 strokes to race through the front nine of the par-70 Crans-sur-Sierre course. He made birdies at the second, fifth, sixth and eighth to make his move. The man from Kolkata conceded bogeys at 10 & 12, but recovered those losses immediately to sign on a four under 66 for the day.
The Japanese had held a share of the lead before he bogeyed his final hole in round one at Crans-sur-Sierre Golf Club but he was blemish-free on Friday as he moved to nine under.
Scot Stephen Gallacher, Frenchman Mike Lorenzo-Vera, South African Haydn Porteous and 2015 champion Danny Willett were in the clubhouse at six under alongside overnight leader Maximilian Kieffer and Dane Søren Kjeldsen, who were in the very early stages of their rounds.
South African Thomas Aiken and Indian SSP Chawrasia were also in the clubhouse at five under, with Frenchman Julien Guerrier among the later starters.
Tanihara is a 14-time winner on the Japan Golf Tour but announced himself to the European Tour last season as he finished fourth at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play and in a tie for third at the BMW PGA Championship.
He has three top tens so far this season as he looks for his first win in his first full season on Tour.
With the best of the scoring coming in the morning on Thursday, most the early starters in round two had plenty of ground to make up to catch Kieffer.
Tanihara had been the best of them on day one and he joined the lead with a birdie on the driveable par four seventh and edged ahead with another on the 12th.
He took advantage of the par five 14th to move two ahead but needed to make smart par saves on the 15th and 16th as Gallacher closed in.
The three-time European Tour winner made gains on the third, seventh and eighth and when he put his tee-shot to two feet on the 11th, he had caught Kieffer.
Another gain on the next had him within a shot of the lead but Tanihara hit an excellent approach into ten feet at the 17th for a fourth birdie of the day.
Gallacher cut the lead back to one with a birdie on the 15th but a double-bogey on the last sent him tumbling back.
Willett was level par for the day after ten holes with a birdie on the 15th and bogey on the first before a 12-footer on the second got him back into red numbers.
He then got up-and-down from a bunker on the seventh, holed a long putt on the eighth and made the most of the par five ninth for a birdie-birdie-birdie finish in a 66.
Porteous joined Willett in the clubhouse after a 65 as he recovered from a bogey on the first with four birdies in five holes before the turn and further gains on the 14th and 15th.
Lorenzo-Vera birdied the third, fifth and seventh but a double-bogey on the next threatened to derail his progress. Birdies on the 12th, 14th and 15th moved into contention before he bogeyed the 16th and birdied the last.
Chawrasia made a surge up the leaderboard with birdies on the second, fifth, sixth and eighth but came home in level par in his 66.
Aiken turned in level par but birdied the 13th, holed a monster putt on the 15th and put his approach to ten feet on the last for a 67.
New Zealander Ryan Fox, American Chase Koepka, England’s Matthew Southgate and Frenchman Romain Wattel were five shots off the lead.