Christiaan Bezuidenhout carded a second-round 65 to surge into a two-shot clubhouse lead on day two of the Made in Denmark.
The South African followed up his opening 66 at Silkeborg Ry Golf Club with a seven-under-par effort to equal Bradley Dredge’s tournament record of 13 under after 36 holes.
Bezuidenhout moved into a share of the lead with birdies on the 4th and 6th before dropping his first shot of the week on the 8th, but he bounced back in style, birdieing the 9th and 10th to take top spot on his own. Further gains on the 11th and 12th made it four in a row and Bezuidenhout led by three but the chasing pack were jostling behind him.
Countryman Erik van Rooyen added to birdies on the 3rd and 8th with gains on the 11th and 12th to cut the lead to two but Bezuidenhout edged back clear with a gain on the 14th.
England’s Matt Baldwin had made a bogey on the 2nd but gains on the 9th, 11th, 12th and 14th had him within three before Bezuidenhout holed a 15-footer on the 16th to lead by four.
Van Rooyen dropped shots on the 16th and 18th to drop six shots off the lead alongside Richard Sterne, Thai Phachara Khongwatmai, Spaniard Adrian Otaegui, English pair Robert Rock and Callum Shinkwin, and Paraguayan Fabrizio Zanotti.
In the race to take the final automatic spot in the Ryder Cup Team, Eddie Pepperell and Matthew Fitzpatrick were facing an uphill battle to claim the victory they needed to potentially overhaul local hero Thorbjorn Olesen, currently holding the last automatic qualifying spot.
The biggest 36-hole deficit made up by a winner this season is nine shots by Alex Noren at the HNA Open de France, and Fitzpatrick will at least have to match that after a second-round 68 moved him to four under.
Pepperell was one shot better off after a 69.
Lee Westwood, one of Thomas Bjorn’s vice-captains, overshadowed potential wildcard pick Thomas Pieters and Olesen, who parred the last two holes to make the cut on the number. The veteran Englishman joined first-round leader Jonathan Thomson in second place after a round of 65.
Credit: European Tour