Danny Willett’s impressive form carried on in the Swiss Alps as he claimed an one-shot lead on a weather-interrupted second day of the Omega European Masters.
The Englishman was in the running for the Claret Jug at St Andrews last week after two rounds, eventually finishing four shots off winner Zach Johnson, and his hot streak continued in Crans on Friday.
Willett’s 62 meant he matched the low-36 hole tournament record score of 127 but 36 players were unable to finish their second round as electrical storms brought a premature end to play.
The 27-year-old opened with three birdies and reached the turn in 30 before continuing to make hay down the back nine, despite a bogey on the 12th, to clinch a slender advantage over the South Korean pair of YE Yang and Baek Seuk-hyun in the event co-sanctioned with the Asian Tour.
“I had a couple of bad swings coming down the last two holes but it was a very good day,” Willett said after moving to 13 under par.
“To get out and birdie the first three in a row, which are the not easiest holes on the course, and then I just kept going – playing some good golf, hitting it in there pretty close and holing out inside 10 to 12 feet.
“It’s always a low scoring week, you know that, and mentally that’s quite good. You can’t just let up and shoot level par and that be good enough.
“You’ve got to take the golf course on because probably somewhere near 20 under par is going to be winning. So you’ve got to go out there and keep making birdies.”
Yang’s 63 made him the pick of the early starters and he entered the clubhouse with a three-shot lead before Baek joined his compatriot on 12 under thanks to a second straight blemish-free round.
Marcus Kinhult ended on nine under and overnight leader Gregory Havret, who had a hole-in-one and an eagle over his first 18, only picked up one stroke on Friday and finished the 36 holes on eight under alongside fellow Frenchman Raphael Jacquelin, Rikard Karlberg, Richard Green, David Lipsky and Marcus Fraser.
Havret only held the lead on Thursday night because Tyrrell Hatton found water en route to a triple bogey to close out his first round, but the Englishman had put that behind him with a blistering start on Friday.
He turned in 30 to reach the leaderboard’s summit before dropping four shots in eight holes to join the clutch of men one shot behind Havret and co.
Michael Hoey card included two sevens – a quadruple-bogey seven at the par-three 13th, his fourth hole, and a triple-bogey on the seventh – but an eagle two on the par-four 17th and four birdies helped him finish with a three-over 73 as he dropped back to two under for the tournament.
Dubliner Peter Lawrie leads the Irish challenge on five under after carding a two-under 68 thanks to birdies on the 11th and 14th and 16 pars.
Damien McGrane is one of those who will have to come back on Saturday morning to complete the last three holes.
It will only delay the inevitable for the Meath golfer, who is seven over for his round through 15 holes and 10 over for the tournament.