Westwood eases into title frame
European Tour: Young Frenchman Stalter heads KLM field after adding impressive 67
Lee Westwood moved into contention at the KLM Open with a bogey-free second round of 65 which left him three strokes off the lead at the halfway stage.
Westwood carded six birdies to finish on sevenunder-par as Frenchman Joel Stalter added a 67 to his opening round 65 to emerge as the clear leader.
With bad weather having caused an early suspension of play on Thursday, organisers struggled to catch up, with half the field unable to complete their second rounds due to darkness.
Rookie Stalter is now in a strong position to claim his first European Tour title, one stroke ahead of Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat, with German Sebastian Heisele a further stroke back.
Stalter carded seven birdies as he completed his opening round early yesterday morning, with his solitary blemish coming with a bogey on the final hole.
The Dutchman recovered to produce an increasingly strong showing in the second round, overhauling Aphibarnrat’s lead with a run of six birdies in 10 holes.
Stalter said: “I played really solid and it was tough at the beginning. I gave up two shots but then I really got it back strong.
“It’s too bad because I maybe could have had a couple more birdies at the end but it was a really good round and I’m really proud of myself because it was a really long day.
“I’ve been in this situation before so I know what to expect for the weekend, but the goal is to be on top of the leaderboard on Sunday.”
Scotland’s Marc Warren guaranteed himself week- end work for only a seventh occasion this season thanks a rousing 67.
His effort ended a run of two missed cuts as Warren, who has slumped to world number 475, has now made the cut in just seven of 19 Tour events this season.
Aphibarnrat said: “I’m starting to really feel the benefit of working with Mike Walker and Pete Cowan. I have been working with them since the start of the year and have made so many good changes.
“They nearly ruined me with all the work I have had to do, but now it is starting to feel really good. I need to now start aiming high and winning tournaments more often.”
“I played really solid and it was tough at the beginning”
IMPRESSIVE RETURN: From Scotland’s Marc Warren, who has struggled on the European Tour this season