Euro Tour ISPS Handa Wales Open. Its Bond, Liam Bond.

Liam Bond leads the European Tour  ISPS Handa Wales Open at the half way stage on the The Celtic Manor Resort course.

Liam Bond   (Getty Images)

Liam Bond / Getty Images

Liam was able take good advantage of being home town favourite, shooting a second round -3 under par 68 and lead the tournament by one shot at -5 under par. On a tough day at Celtic Manor he was one of only a handful of players who broke par 71 on the firm course.

As he lives only a short distance away from the course and was lucky to get a late call up to this tournament as he lost his playing card in 2011. Liam says he is now playing well;

“I’m playing way better than when I had my card in 2011. If I was on tour this year I would be loving it, but I put myself under a lot of pressure when I was on the tour. I feel my game is still pretty good and I only found out I was playing on Wednesday afternoon, so I didn’t have any time to over-prepare like I have done in the past. The pressure is off because I’m not trying to keep my card. I only live 10 minutes down the road so it’s nice to be so close to home. I’ll be at home with my slippers on this afternoon and a nice cup of tea.”

Yesterdays leader Espen Kofstad, was playing once again with Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley, but failed to repeat the heroics of his first round, scrambling to card +3 over par and a -4 under par total. Tiaart Van Der Walt scored an even par round and shares second place with Espen on that -4 under par total.

Paul McGinley had a good second round of -3 under par and now shares 4th place on that score with; Peter Uihein, Rafa Cabrera-Bello, Graeme Storm and Grégory Bourdy.

Paul stated how hard the course was;

It was a challenge, there’s no doubt about it, you had to be patient.  It was tough and it’s understandable that the scoring is quite moderate. I have been playing well for a few months and have not turned it into a result. I could do with a good result. I played lovely controlled golf and hopefully the wind blows at the weekend. It’s very bunched as most leaderboards are now on The European Tour. You have got to play well.”

Joint best score of the day went to Graeme Storm, a -4 under par 67, which catapulted him up the leaderboard;

“My hitting has not been great but the putter is hot. It has not felt like that in a long time but over the last few weeks has been great, and the chipping is feeling good. I just need to sharpen up the long game.”

Among those missing the cut, set at +4 over par, were;  José María Olazabal, Grégory Haveret, Philip Price, Scott Hend, Shiv Kapur, Simon Khan, Fabrizio Zanotti, Michael Campbell and last weeks winner,Tommy Fleetwood

European Tour. Trophée Hassan 11. 40th Anniversary, Marcel Siem Leads.

Marcel Siem from Germany leads at the European Tour event, Trophée Hassan 11, being staged at Golf du Palais Royal in Morocco. It is the 40th Anniversary of this competition, which was established by the late King of Morocco in 1971.

Marcel Siem   (Getty Images)

Marcel Siem / Getty Images

Marcel Siem shot a first round of -8 under par 64 at the Trophée Hassan II, to lead by three shots from Spaniard Alvaro Velasco, who had a more modest first round of -5 under par 67.

Marcel is keen to earn his debut place at the Masters next month, he will need to keep playing like this to achieve that goal. Apart from playing well Marcel also said he enjoyed some good luck today;

” Sometimes you need a bit of luck in this game and thankfully today was one of those days where it went my way. I didn’t know I still had a chance for the Masters but now we know there are four or five of us in the field here who still might be able to get to the Masters if we win here. It is a nice incentive but I came here first and foremost to play this tournament and play this golf course. The Masters would be pretty special but I just have to concentrate on what I am doing in this tournament.”

There are three English players tied in third position at -4 under par, they are; David Horsey, Graeme Storm and Simon Wakefield.

Simon said he was shocked to be in this position, he  is still chasing a maiden European Tour victory after almost 300 events.

” It was one of those days when you go out there on a realty tough golf course and the wind is blowing 20-30 miles per hour and you don’t expect to finish on four under. I am shocked to be tied in third but I played well.”

David who won here two years ago said he has good feelings coming back here;

” Hopefully I can start climbing the order of merit now and have a good year because I feel like all the changes I have made have given me a new lease of life. It was very good, I am very happy with the start. I had my fair share of good luck today but you need that in this game and you just have to take advantage of it when it comes your way.I managed to play well today and had the ball under control for the majority of the round. Obviously I had the win here two years ago and I do feed off a lot of those good feelings from that when I come back here. It is a great golf course that is different to what we usually play with a lot of run-offs and raised greens but you can make a score if you play well as I showed today.”

Yesterday Francesco Molinari played in the Pro-Am with the Crown Prince of Morocco, HRH Prince Moulay Rachid. Francesco said it was a great privilege to have partnered the Prince;

” It was a great privilege for me to play with the Prince, I had the chance to meet him last night and he is a very nice, down to earth guy. He just loves his golf and is very knowledgeable about the game and the top players. It is not every day that you get the chance to play golf with Royalty so it is a very humbling experience for me.”

Omar Lahjomri, HRH Prince Moulay Rachid, Francesco Molinari & Jalil Bennis  (Getty Images)

Omar Lahjomri, HRH Prince Moulay Rachid, Francesco Molinari & Jalil Bennis  / Getty Images

Francesco did not have a good first round today, finishing at +1 over par 73.

European Tour, KLM Open. Graeme Storm leads after 1st round

Storm pleased to overcome trying time

Graeme Storm /Getty Images

Graeme Storm of England leads the European Tour KLM Open after the first round at Hilversumsche Golf Course with a faultless round of 63, a -7 under par effort. Graeme is trying to overcome personal tragedy away from the course, with his grandfather passing away prior to June’s BMW International Open.

“I’ve had a tough run and it’s all been a bit of a struggle. I’ve just not been enjoying it. I lost my grandfather on the Wednesday morning of Germany and since then I have really struggled. I kind of kept it to myself what happened but it hit me really hard. You can get punished round here but I played the best I have probably played all year. I’m just happy to get a round like that under my belt after recent months. The golf course here is fantastic, the best I have ever seen it, so you have to hit it straight and that is what I did. I made the birdies when I gave myself the chances and got up and down when I missed the greens. There is still a lot of play for this season. Keeping my card is the goal. At the start of the season it was getting into the top 60 on The Race to Dubai but I’m a long way from that so my goal now is to keep my card.”

I wish Graeme well, and hope that he will retain his card.

There are three players tied in second place, European Ryder Cup player Martin Kaymer, Raphaël Jacquelin and  Fabrizio Zanotti, who all had rounds of 65, -5 under par and two shots adrift of the leader.

Martin and Raphaël both had eagles on the par five twelfth hole, Martin saying he is working hard as he seeks to recapture his best form.

” Two years ago when I won here was very nice but that was a period of time I could have played golf with my eyes closed. Now is a different time when I need to work and it takes a lot of energy and a lot of concentration. I really need to focus on the things on the range. Two years ago it was more automatic.”

Defending Champion here is Simon Dyson, a three times a winner of this event, he began his defense of this title beginning the week with a 70 that featured a welcome Eagle on 18.