A dream round featuring seven birdies and an eagle lifted France’s Julien Quesne to the top of the leaderboard at the midway point of the European Masters in Crans-sur-sierre on Friday.
Quesne’s second-round 65 gave him an eight-under-par total of 133 and a one-shot lead over Briton Danny Willett, who fired a second successive 67.
Scotland’s European Ryder Cup team member Paul Lawrie remains firmly in contention to follow up his win last weekend in the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles as his second-round 66 left him lying third, a further shot back.
David Howell, Marcus Fraser, Robert Coles and Tommy Fleetwood, courtesy of a 66, were a shot further adrift.
Quesne’s compatriot, Gregory Bourdy, was unable to match the fireworks that saw him top the leaderboard after a first-round 63, and the Frenchman slipped to a share of 13th with a 75.
Quesne is aiming to add to his maiden Tour win in the Open de Andalucia in March.
“I took a lot of pleasure from how I played today,” Quesne said. “I hit so many good shots; I managed to stay calm and I holed a lot of putts.”
“My final round in Andalucia was the best of my career, because it was under a lot of pressure, but today was probably my second-best, because the conditions were very tough and I hardly missed a shot. So I’m very happy,” he added.
Willett, who also won for the first time in the BMW International Open in June, wants to experience the winning feeling again, too.
“It’s all too easy to switch off mentally after a win, because you’ve got your card for another couple of years,” the Englishman said. “It depends what kind of personality you are really, but I want to taste that winning feeling every week I pitch up. It isn’t realistic, but that’s the goal, and as long as you’re in with a decent shout come Sunday [today], you know you’ve played well.”