Cormac Sharvin returned an even par 71 to lose ground on the leaders but maintained a position inside the top-10 at the Challenge Tour’s Hauts de France – Pas de Calais Golf Open.
The Ardglass professional posted three birdies and three bogeys to fall two places into a large tie for 8th at two-under par at the halfway stage of the tournament.
Sharvin is now six shots back of Dutchman Daan Huizing’s lead but heads the Irish challenge with Rosapenna’s Ruaidhri McGee carding an even par effort of his own to share 20th at level par.
McGee mirrored Sharvin’s scoring in posting three birdies and three bogeys to set-up a potential weekend charge with 36-holes to go in Calais while Conor O’Rourke and Robin Dawson unfortunately missed the cut and Michael Hoey retired after nine holes of todays round.
At the top, Huizing will take some catching after taking sole possession of the lead on Day Two and he’is determined to finish the tournament on a sweeter note than he has in years past.
The Dutchman, who fired his second-consecutive round of four under par 67, led after 54-holes at Aa Saint-Omer Golf Club last year but faltered down the stretch, ultimately carding a final round 74 and finishing in a tie for fifth place.
The year prior, he posted the course record—a nine under par 62—but failed to finish inside the top ten, while in 2016 he was unable to make up the final bit of ground he needed to on the final day and took a share of fourth place.
“I’m very much determined to finish it off this year,” Huizing said. “I’ve learned some tough lessons on this course, but on the other hand, I always come here with pleasure.
“I’m in a really good position again and I know what to do here. For now, we’re just halfway, so I am going to keep my head down, keep my foot down and try to play as good as I can.”
The 28-year-old, who won twice in a three week span on the European Challenge Tour in 2013, has already proven he has what it takes to win, but he will also draw from more recent experiences as a front-runner, like the Jordan Mixed Open presented by Ayla, where he opened with an eight under par 64 to lead before going on to win.
For now, however, the Soest resident is not getting ahead of himself, and was quick to point out the respect he has for the difficulty of the Aa Saint-Omer GC layout, despite having only dropped three shots thus far.
“I tried to keep my foot on the gas today, but on the other hand it’s a tough course and you can’t short-side yourself because then you’re looking at bogey straight away,” he said.
“I just tried to get myself on the good side of the pin and give myself a lot of looks from ten feet away. Unfortunately, I didn’t make too many of them, but it was still a really solid round.
“You’ve got to stay really patient here and just try to roll it good. I didn’t leave myself difficult putts for par and I had a lot of looks for birdie. I just need to keep doing that.”
Leading the charge to catch Huizing over the weekend is Swede Jacob Glennemo, who sits alone in second place following a five under par round of 66, which was highlighted by an eagle-birdie-birdie stretch and only one dropped shot.
The low round of the day, and of the tournament so far, belongs to Danish teenager Nicolai Højgaard, who played the final four holes of his front nine in five under par, before carding three further birdies on the back nine and signing for a seven under par 64.
The 18-year-old will have a bit of extra help this weekend as he tries to make up ground on Huizing, as his twin brother, Rasmus Højgaard—who is currently 11th in the Challenge Tour Rankings—missed the cut, and it is expected he will be on the bag for Nicolai for the final two rounds.
Robin Roussel, who is one place behind Rasmus on the Rankings, shares third place with Nicolai on four under par, and is the low-Frenchman heading into the weekend.
In total, 65 players survived the cut of three over. The third round of the Hauts de France – Pas de Calais Golf Open begins tomorrow at 8:30 am local time.
Full Scoring HERE