Wales Open: Home player Liam Bond takes one-shot lead at Celtic Manor
Last Updated: August 30, 2013 8:33pm
Liam Bond: Unheralded Welshman takes one-shot lead at Celtic Manor
Unheralded Welshman Liam Bond produced a fairy tale storyline at the Wales Open as he moved into a one-stroke lead at the halfway point at Celtic Manor.
Bond is ranked 1,528th in the world and only got into the tournament at the last minute, receiving a phone call on Wednesday afternoon whilst out playing a round with his seven-year-old daughter at a local course.
But the 43-year-old made the most of his opportunity following his opening 69 with a second round of 68 to post a five-under-par 36-hole total of 137, one shot clear of overnight leader Espen Kofstad and South African Tjaart van der Walt.
Norwegian Kofstad could only add a second-round 74 to his opening 64 to finish four-under, one ahead of playing partner and European Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley, who carded four birdies and two bogeys in a 69.
The club professional at nearby St Pierre, Bond won his European Tour card on his 16th visit to the qualifying school in 2010 but was unable to retain it after finishing 191st on the Order of Merit in 2011.
Since then he has concentrated largely on regional events, winning three this season, and missed the cut in his only Challenge Tour event of 2013 in Scotland in June.
"I'm playing way better than when I had my card in 2011," said Bond, whose career earnings of around £100,000 are dwarfed by the first prize here of £300,000, not to mention the Ryder Cup points on offer in the first qualifying event.
"If I was on tour this year I would be loving it, but I put myself under a lot of pressure when I was on the tour. I was trying to work harder and hit more balls and everything was under close scrutiny.
"I feel my game is still pretty good and I only found out I was playing on Wednesday afternoon so I didn't have any time to over-prepare like I have done in the past. The pressure is off because I'm not trying to keep my card. I'm just trying to play and enjoy it.
Second round leaderboard
(GbB & Ire unless stated)
-5 L Bond
-4 E Kofstad (Nor)
-4 T Van der Walt (SA)
-3 G Bourdy (Fra)
-3 R Cabrera-Bello (Spa)
-3 P McGinley
-3 G Storm
-3 P Uihlein (US)
Click here for collated scores
"I only live 10 minutes down the road so it's nice to be so close to home. I was at St Pierre on Wednesday when I got the call; my daughter Daisy was looking for one of my shots in the rough. I'll be at home with my slippers on tonight and a nice cup of tea."
McGinley has already ruled himself out of playing in the Ryder Cup next year but added: "I'm keen to play well to get into better tournaments so I can play alongside my players."
England's Graeme Storm was alongside McGinley on three-under after a 68, along with Spain's Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Gregory Bourdy of France and America's Peter Uihlein.
Former Walker Cup player Storm admitted he is continuing to benefit from using one of Jose Maria Olazabal's rejects.
"I was looking for a new putter in Ireland and picked this one up," Storm said. "The guy said it had been specially made for Olazabal but he doesn't want it. I picked it up and since then I've played great with it."
It proved a tough day of scoring for most of the field and, with the cutline eventually falling at five-over, the likes of Olazabal, Bernd Wiesberger, Thorbjorn Olesen and Francesco Molinari all failed to make the weekend's play.