England’s Jordan Smith fired a seven-under-par second-round 64 to grab a three-shot lead in the French Open on Friday.
Scot Ewen Ferguson was two strokes back after his 67 with a two-shot cushion over six men tied on seven under par.
They included Frenchman Julien Brun, who hit 66, Japan’s Ryo Hisatsune, Dane Rasmus Hojgaard, South African Zander Lombard, who carded 68, Englishman Richard Mansell and German Yannik Paul.
Smith birdied five of the first six holes and then tackled the tough back nine in 33 for a round of 64, two shots better than the next best rounds of the day.
The Englishman has made the cut in his last 10 consecutive starts.
“The past few weeks have been really good, been putting lovely, so there’s a lot of confidence in there,” he said. “I hit some awesome iron shots. The challenge was mainly the wind.”
Overnight leader Tom Kim was a victim of the famous closing stretch at Le Golf National, which will host the 2024 Olympic golf event, finding the water on the 16th, where he made a double-bogey, and again on the last, for a treble-bogey.
Smith bogeyed the par three 16th but took the shot back with a birdie on 17.
“You’ve seen it in the past, those last few holes catch people out so it’s more of the same. Staying aggressive, greens are soft so you can go straight at the pins,” Smith said.
Robert MacIntyre, who will feature in the Ryder Cup next week, missed the cut by six shots after a second-round 77 left him six over.
© Agence France-Presse