Khan claims lead in Portugal
Englishman takes route 66 to move into top spot at Vilamoura
Last Updated: October 14, 2011 7:03pm
Simon Khan: Enjoying himself so far in Portugal this week
Simon Khan tops the leaderboard at the halfway mark of the Portugal Masters after shooting a six-under 66 in round two.
The Englishman has struggled since winning last year's BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth, the European Tour's flagship event, with a fifth place in the French Open his only top 10 of the season.
Second round leaderboard
(GB&I unless stated)
-13 S Khan
-12 R Davies
-12 F Aguilar (Chi)
-12 J Kingston (SA)
-11 C Nilsson (Swe)
-11 D Dixon
-11 J Edfors (Swe)
Click here for collated scores
But he's found his form at Vilamoura's Oceanico Victoria Golf Course so far this week with rounds of 65 and 66 taking him to 13-under at halfway and into a one-shot lead over Welshman Rhys Davies, Chile's Felipe Aguilar and first round leader James Kingston of South Africa.
"I started great - birdied the first two holes and that settled me down quickly," said the 39-year-old Khan.
"I hit it perfect. I think that you have to be positive around this course, and if the wind gets up a little bit, it can be a little bit more testing. You've just got to hit your wedges close and definitely get the putter going, that's the key.
"It's been a great two days. It's not been a brilliant year overall, but I always feel good coming around this course and enjoy playing in Portugal. I'm delighted with the two days.
"I think the thing is to enjoy the position I'm in and enjoy the pressure - hopefully I'm leading - and carry that on into the weekend. We are only halfway through the tournament, so still lots of birdies to be made hopefully."
Second-placed Davies, who sits 51st on The Race to Dubai, knows that a big performance can confirm his place at the season-ending Dubai World Championship.
And the Welshman impressed with seven birdies in a round of 67 to be 12-under at the halfway stage.
Rugby World Cup
The 26-year old will certainly appreciate the late start on Saturday, with Wales facing France in the semi-final of the Rugby World Cup at 9am.
"I think we have a great chance," said Davies. "We have a really tough team to play against, there's no doubt about it. I think the French are quite unpredictable.
"Thomas Levet was trying to tell me how dominant they were earlier, but I'm having none of it. I back my boys and I think they are great stuff. They have a really great team chemistry going it seems, and they are playing some really good rugby. We are fully confident on the weekend that we can turn them over tomorrow."
Youngster Tom Lewis, who won the Silver Medal, for finishing as top amateur at the Open at Royal St George's this summer, produced one of the performances of the day.
The Englishman produced a stunning run from the 13th, with nine birdies in 11 holes. Lewis, who recently turned professional, eventually signed for a 64 to sit alongside Thomas Bjorn at 10-under.
It's a further shot back to Germany's Martin Kaymer, who fired a 68.
The halfway cut fell at five under par, meaning last week's Madrid Masters winner Lee Slattery missed out by a shot, while Ryder Cup captain Jose Maria Olazabal was two outside the mark.