June 08, 2018: Steve Webster fired an impressive 65 to set the clubhouse target on day two of the Shot Clock Masters as the veterans continued to thrive at Diamond Country Club.
An innovative new format this week sees every shot played on the clock, with penalties handed out if a player goes over their allotted time, but that is not proving a problem so far with no penalties recorded, and fast rounds and good scoring the order of the day.
Webster may only be 43 but he played 19 consecutive seasons on the European Tour – winning twice – before suffering with a wrist injury in recent seasons, and the Englishman set the target at eight under to lead by one from Spaniard Miguel Ángel Jiménez and Dane Jeppe Pape Huldahl.
Jiménez, 54, was proving age is no barrier and arrived this week off the back of a closing 63 at the Italian Open – the second Rolex Series event of the season – while Huldahl finished third on the Challenge Tour last week in Switzerland.
Overnight leader Oscar Lengden – due out in the last group of the day – was at six under, a shot ahead of Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts and Dane Jeff Winther.
Jiménez set the early pace as he dropped a shot on the 13th but then reeled off a hat-trick of birdies before adding another on the par three last.
When he birdied the first his lead was up to three but Huldahl cut it in spectacular style, following up a birdie on the second by holing a seven-iron for eagle on the par four fifth and then making a 15-foot right-to-lefter on the sixth.
Huldahl bogeyed the eighth and ninth and while Jiménez also dropped a shot after finding water on the fourth, a monster put at the fifth and tee-shot to ten feet at the par three sixth moved him to ten under and into a four-shot lead.
Webster, meanwhile, was quietly going about his business, making birdies on the first, eighth and ninth – after a stunning approach – to turn in 33.
A bogey on the tenth was then followed by a birdie on the 11th to keep him well in touch as Jiménez came back to the pack.
The 21-time European Tour winner did well to surrender a single shot on the seventh after finding water with his second and a lost ball on the ninth after going right off the tee led to a double-bogey and a one-shot lead.
A 25-foot putt on the 14th from Webster had him in a share of top spot and while Huldahl also moved to seven under with a birdie 15th, ahead on the 16th Webster made another gain to lead on his own.
Playing alongside Jiménez, Colsaerts made a bogey on the 12th but bounced back with birdies on the par five 15th and 16th, the third and the fourth – following a stunning approach.
A bogey on the eighth threatened to throw him off course but the 2012 Ryder Cup hero bounced back with a closing gain.
Winther was level par after 12 holes with two birdies and two bogeys but birdied the 13th, 16th and 17th before dropping a shot on the last.
China’s Wu Ashun and Finn Mikko Korhonen were also five under in the very early stages of their rounds, alongside another Finn in Tapio Pulkkanen who was yet to tee off.
There was then a large group of players at four under including England’s Steve Surry, who equalled the lowest round of the week so far with a 65.