Levet scales the heights
Frenchman ties clubhouse leader with birdie at closing hole
By Michael Wise. Last Updated: 03/09/07 9:53am
Levet: joint leader
Thomas Levet and Simon Wakefield share the lead at the halfway stage of the Johnnie Walker Championship after opening-round leader Marc Warren struggled in windy conditions at Gleneagles.
S Wakefield (Eng) -9
M Warren (Sco) -8
P Archer (Eng) -7
"I'm not far from my 2004 form"
Thomas Levet Quotes of the week
Frenchman Levet birdied the last hole to complete a five-under-par 68 that took him to nine-under alongside Wakefield - the Staffordshire player having earlier shot a 69.
But Warren, who led on the opening day after a sparkling 65, could only manage a level-par 72 on Friday, the Scot nevertheless remaining a contender in third place on eight under.
"It was a tougher day than yesterday. There was more wind and the greens were not as good," said Warren, who failed to sustain his momentum after taking birdies on the opening two holes.
Levet back near his best
Meanwhile, after returning in May following a seven-month layoff because of vertigo, Levet reckoned that he was again playing somewhere near his best.
And, having initially said that his goal was simply "to have a job for next year somewhere", the 38-year-old now reckons that he can earn a repeat of his 2004 Ryder Cup appearance.
"I'm not far from my 2004 form," added Levet, who failed to equal the hole-in-one he scored on Thursday, but nevertheless carded six birdies and only one bogey in his second round.
Meanwhile, long-time clubhouse leader Wakefield is hoping that he can consolidate his lofty halfway position and challenge for a first European Tour win.
But, after scoring six birdies the 34-year-old also admitted that, typically, he tended to find the going tougher during the weekend.
"I feel more comfortable on Thursday and Friday," Wakefield said. "For some reason Saturday is always the day that I don't enjoy.
"It's moving day, but I tend to move the other way.
"It's not that I dislike them - I think it's the hardest day. You've made the cut and you suddenly relax and don't try too hard."
Elsewhere, after appearing destined to miss the cut at one point, defending champion Paul Casey rallied to a four-under total.
Following a subdued start to his round, which left him on level par after eight holes, Casey's round finally caught aflame after an eagle at the 564-yard par five ninth.
He then birdied two more holes coming home for a second successive 71, his total placing him one clear of playing partners Colin Montgomerie (74) and Lee Westwood (69).