Hurly Long will take a slender one-shot lead into the weekend after producing a brilliant burst of scoring on his back nine on day two of the Betfred British Masters.
The German began the day a single shot off the lead but was unable to make any early progress as, starting from the 10th tee, he carded nine straight pars.
But once the European Challenge Tour graduate got his first birdie, they carried on coming, as he made four in a row from the 1st hole before adding another at the 6th to move two clear of his nearest rivals.
A dropped shot on the last meant Long had to settle for a second-round 68 and a one-stroke lead on nine under par.
Swede Marcus Kinhult, Dane Thorbjørn Olesen and Scotland’s Richie Ramsay were in a tie for second on eight under, with Rasmus Højgaard another shot further back.
South African Justin Walters was in the large group on six under, following up a first-round 68 with a second-round 70.
After beginning his second round with nine consecutive pars, Long would break the run with a birdie from seven feet at the first before adding another from similar range on the 2nd.
He got into trouble at the long 3rd but recovered beautifully to make a birdie there, giving him a share of the lead on eight under.
And another gain from seven feet at the 4th handed Long the outright lead.
The birdie streak came to an end at the 5th but the six-foot par putt he holed there proved to be just as important, and a tremendous approach into the 6th green set up another birdie from inside two feet.
Long dropped his only shot of the day at the 9th but heads into the weekend in great shape.
“It was good,” said rookie Long, who finished in a tie for third at the Ras al Khaimah Classic in February before coming joint-second in the Magical Kenya Open the following month.
“I thought the conditions were quite a bit more difficult today with the wind and it’s a bit cooler.
“And there’s a lot of tough holes out here but despite not driving it my best, the irons were really good again and so I did give myself some opportunities and yeah, took them when I could. So I’m happy.
“The game is good, and I know that if I play the way I can play, that I can compete out here. So I’m certainly not scared to do well.
“I think that’s something I’ve learned over time and I’m just enjoying it.
“It’s awesome. We play great courses and great guys out here, so it’s been great.”
Ramsay’s flawless 69 means he has only dropped one shot so far this week, while Olesen made four birdies and two bogeys in his 70.
Late starter Kinhult saved his best for last, going eagle-birdie-birdie from the 15th to jump to eight under.
– Report from DP World Tour website