Thomas Detry will go into the weekend just two strokes back as he bids to become the first Belgian winner of the Soudal Open in nearly 70 years.
The 30-year-old, seeking a maiden DP World Tour victory on home soil, followed his first-round effort of 67 with a five under par 66 to sign for a nine under par total at Rinkven International Golf Club.
The last Belgian player to claim their national open was Flory van Donck in 1956, when he won the title for a tournament record fifth time.
First round leader Simon Forsström is still the man to catch as he carded five birdies in a four under par round of 67. The Swede is 11 under par after two rounds and one stroke ahead of French rookie Jeong Weon Ko.
Ko is playing in his first season on the DP World Tour after finishing inside the top 20 on the European Challenge Tour’s Road to Mallorca last year.
In a share of fourth place on eight under par are Frenchman Julien Brun, Jens Dantorp of Sweden and England’s James Morrison.
Simon Forsström: “I don’t really know what I’ve done particularly well. I’ve only made one bogey, so I’ve been pretty solid. I hit a lot of greens, I think I’ve only chipped three times in two rounds. That’s the key.
“I think it’s very important when you get a good feeling and you know it’s going to go well. Some weeks when you don’t like the course it’s hard to play well because you’ve already decided it’s not your course.”
Jeong Weon Ko: “It’s been really nice to start the tournament like this. I don’t think this year I’ve had quite a good start at tournaments, it’s always been a struggle to get through the cut. It’s nice to not worry about it and just play my game, just worry about what I will need to do on the shot itself. It was a really good two rounds and I’m happy with it.
“Korea helped me a lot because it helped me gain a bit of confidence back. I’m building on it well. I think I’m hitting the ball really good. I struggled with putting a bit, but I’ve been putting really well this week. We’ll just keep on going.”
Thomas Detry: “An absolutely great scoring day today. Although I drove it really well I definitely didn’t have my best stuff, so I felt my scoring was really good. I had a couple of good bounces, a couple of good breaks. Overall a great day really. I made some mistakes but every time I was able to bounce back with birdies. Very happy with a nice round today.
“I must say it’s amazing. I really forget how enthusiastic the people are, especially when I play so far away on the other side of the ocean. You get out here, you see so many people, they are so excited. Making that putt on the last, even for a five, you can see how many people are excited to see me and to see me play well, it’s great. It’s great for the game of golf, it’s great for everyone and hopefully we can bring some even better atmosphere for the weekend.”