Gareth Shaw’s biggest regret from last season is that he topped the Alps Tour money list without winning an event. But after adding a 68 to his opening 65 to lie a shot behind clubhouse leader Jamie Moul, the Lurgan native is hoping he can capture the Challenge Tour’s Montecchia Golf Open presented by POLAROID.
Before thunderstorms disrupted play for a second day running, the Galgorm Castle touring professional moved into joint second place in the clubhouse on nine under par.
Shaw finished tied fourth in an Alps Tour event at Golf Club della Montecchia last year, en route to winning the Order of Merit, and was pleased with a three under par 68.
“I made a great start with three straight birdies which settled the nerves a little bit,” said the 27 year old. “I could have been six under after six but I missed a couple of putts inside ten feet.
“I’m happy with where I am though; it’s great to be up there. Although I won the Alps Tour Order of Merit last year I didn’t win a title.
“I finished in the top five six or seven times so it was the consistency that did it for me. Hopefully I can win here this week, but there’s a long way to go yet.”
Simon Thornton’s two over 73 relegated him to tied 14th on five under while Alan Dunbar was back on two under through nine and just outside the top 60 who will make the cut when play resumes on Saturday.
Moul endured an unsuccessful rookie season on The European Tour in 2012, having graduated from the Challenge Tour the previous year.
But a 67 to follow a first-round 65 left him ten under par, one shot ahead of Shaw, Frenchmen Eduardo Espana and Julien Guerrier and American Brooks Koepka.
“It must be something about Italy,” said Moul, who won the Acaya Open in Puglia in 2011. “I played very solidly and hit a lot of wedge shots close. I was mostly on the fairway, holed some putts, missed some putts – pretty boring really but it was just very solid.”