SHEFFIELD’S Matthew Fitzpatrick holed a 15ft birdie putt on his final hole for a share of the lead at the halfway mark of the D+D REAL Czech Masters.
The former US Amateur champion, who turns 21 next Tuesday, also sank a 30ft eagle putt on the 12th hole in his five-under-par second round of 67 to move to 11 under par for the tournament, a total which was matched by Sweden’s Pelle Edberg, who also birdied his final hole for a round of 67.
It was Fitzpatrick’s second consecutive bogey-free round at Albatross Golf Resort as he bids for a maiden European Tour title, having finished runner up to fellow Sheffield native Danny Willett in last month’s Omega European Masters in Switzerland.
Fitzpatrick and Edberg are one shot clear of Belgian Thomas Pieters, who signed for a round of 68 to move to 10 under par, while English pair Robert Dinwiddie (67) and Sam Hutsby (70) and Denmark’s Thorbjørn Olesen share fourth position on eight under par, three shots behind the leading pair.
Fitzpatrick said: “It was very consistent. I played nicely and hit a lot of greens again which is always important to keep making pars and then take your chances when you have them.
“I gave myself a few out there. I got a bit frustrated in the middle of the round when I wasn’t holing any putts. I missed a few chances, but picked it up on the back nine.
“The putt on 18th was a nice way to finish with a birdie, to pick up one more and move to the top - and the eagle on 12 was great. I hit a nice seven wood in there to about 30ft and then holed for eagle.
“I’m looking forward to the weekend now. It’s another chance to put myself in contention for Sunday.
“I took a lot from contending in Crans. It was a great week for me. I don’t really know how to explain it but I gained a lot of experience from playing with Danny (Willett). I know him quite well. He is top 30 in the world, so obviously one of the best players around.”