Ahead of this week’s Volvo Car Scandinavian Mixed, defending champion Jonathan Caldwell hoped being back at the tournament would spark something in his game and it seemed to work as he ended a run of four straight missed cuts in Sweden.
The 38-year-old Clandeboye man carded a second consecutive one-under 71 at Halmstad Golf Club to make the weekend on the number at two-under-par and keep his hopes of retaining his title, slim as they are, alive for the weekend.
Caldwell heads into the final two rounds 10 shots off leader Jason Scrivener who produced the lowest round of the week with the Australian carding eight birdies in a bogey-free 64 to hit the front at 12-under-par.
That tally gives him a one-shot lead at the halfway stage of the mixed gender event which sees men and women compete for the same title.
The 33-year-old began the day three shots off the lead but soon set about closing the gap, pouring in a 32-foot birdie putt at the long second before making back-to-back birdies at the fifth and sixth.
Scrivener caught fire on the back nine, carding four consecutive birdies at the 11th, 12th, 13th and 14th thanks to a hot putter and curled in his 20-foot effort at the 17th for another birdie before holing his tricky par putt on the 18th green to set the clubhouse target on 12 under par.
“Really happy. It has been a frustrating couple of months, and I felt a round like this was close and I am pretty happy with it,” said Scrivener after his round.
“I have been playing decent just not really holing any putts and making a few mistakes here and there, and not putting a score together, so for it all to come together today it was nice.
“Looking forward to it. It has been a while since I have been in contention and just excited to be in this position. Can’t wait.”
Italian amateur Carolina Melgrati was one of three players in a tie for second after following up Thursday’s 65 with a second-round 69, with home favourite Linn Grant and Mike Lorenzo-Vera also on ten under par.
“It has been great. I’m excited and I just want to keep going,” said Melgrati. “I can’t wait to play tomorrow! I love playing, so that’s my dream. My strengths are my long game mainly. I usually don’t putt this well, but during this tournament I’m feeling my putter in a better way.”
Grant, a winner two weeks ago at The Mithra Belgian Ladies Open, mixed six birdies with two bogeys in an impressive 68 which she capped with a fine birdie at the last.
Caldwell, meanwhile, will be hoping to push his way up the leaderboard over the weekend and give himself some momentum for the rest of the season by bettering his best finish of 2022 so far, a tied-40th at the Qatar Masters.
The Northern Irishman has at least put himself in a position to do so after his second round as three birdies and one bogey saw him in for the final two days with nothing to spare in Tyolsand.
His front nine had been one where his good holes, birdies at the par-four third and par-five fifth, were immediately cancelled out by bogeys at the par-three fourth and par-four sixth, but for the most part he was keeping the mistakes off his scorecard.
And that allowed him to par his way in after a birdie at the par-five 11th to secure his Saturday tee time and he will look to turn that into a positive finish over the weekend.
It was not such a good day for Olivia Mehaffey, however, as she started the day at one-under, only for a five-over 77 in her second round dropping her back to four-over-par and well adrift of the cut line.
The 24-year-old had to wait for the 18th for her only birdie of the day in a forgettable round, with six bogeys prior to that leaving her a long way shy of the required mark.