Zander Lombard shared the lead at the halfway stage of the Lyoness Open powered by Sporthilfe Cashback Card despite back-to-back bogeys on the back nine threatening to derail his challenge.
The South African will head into the weekend tied on seven under par with Grégory Bourdy, whose score of 69 saw him set the clubhouse target earlier in the day.
Lombard, who began the day three shots behind overnight leader Adrian Otaegui, got off to a stunning start on Friday, firing four birdies in his opening six holes to climb to the top of the leaderboard.
The 21 year old dropped a shot at the eighth but bounced back immediately with another gain at the ninth to reach the turn in 32.
The back nine was a different story for Lombard, who made par at the tenth and 11th before carding his second bogey of the day at the 12th. He then surrendered the outright lead when he dropped another shot at the 13th after missing his ten foot par putt.
But Lombard made par at each of the final five holes to finish his round in 70 shots and share the lead with Bourdy.
Lombard was pleased with his performance in difficult conditions. He said: ‘It was so brutal with the wind out there today. Club selection was absolutely crucial and with the pins positions today, they were tough with the wind direction.
‘I was really hitting great shots on the front nine with just a few misjudgements with the winds on the back nine which cost me a few shots.
‘I holed a six footer at the first, missed a ten footer on two and made a great par on three. My momentum got me going then and I made three birdies in a row, so it was just a matter of hitting great shots and a few putts went in.’
Frenchman Bourdy started the day four shots off the lead and fell even further behind when he carded a bogey at the 11th, his second hole.
The 34 year old recovered in style, however, making successive gains at the 14th and 15th before safely parring the next three holes to reach the turn in 35.
A superb tee shot at the short sixth gave Bourdy another birdie chance, which he converted with ease, rolling in from less than two feet to move to six under par.
And after sending his approach shot at the ninth to within a few feet of the hole, he tapped in to card yet another birdie and move to seven under.
‘It was a great day again today,’ said Bourdy. ‘It was quite difficult this morning with the wind again, it was blowing harder than yesterday so I would say it was more difficult than yesterday, so I’m very happy to shoot a 69 and finish with a nice birdie on the ninth.’
France’s Gary Stal sits one shot behind the leaders on six under after carding five birdies, two bogeys and a double bogey on his way to a 71.
After his round, Stal said: ‘Today was a very tough day but my game was there. I played very well, just missed one shot and made double bogey but I’m happy with how I played.’
Spain’s Borja Virto is a further shot back on five under, while his countryman Otaegui is in the group on four under after carding a double bogey and two bogeys on Friday.
Defending champion Chris Wood posted a second successive 71 to move to two under, while playing partner and home favourite Bernd Wiesberger will begin his third round on level par after following up Thursday’s 70 with a 74 on Friday.