KENT’S Steven Tiley leads by three shots at the halfway stage of Le Vaudreuil Golf Challenge at Golf PGA France du Vaudreuil.
The Englishman, who finished runner-up to last year’s wire-to-wire champion Richard McEvoy, followed up his opening round of 64 with a three-under par round of 68 to break away from the chasing pack at the end of day two.
Tiley has never led a European Challenge Tour event after two rounds after 11 seasons of trying.
But the 36-year-old showed why the Golf PGA France du Vaudreuil course is a favourite of his by recording a second sub-70 round for a 10-under total.
An early bogey on his second hole – the 11th – to begin the round did not phase him as he made six consecutive pars before holing a long birdie putt on the 18th.
Tiley then surged ahead after the turn, making gains on the third, fifth and seventh holes to extend his lead over the chasing pack to three strokes.
With 36 holes left to play and a debut Challenge Tour victory in sight, Tiley was pleased with his second round work at Le Vaudreuil.
“I played okay on my front nine – the back nine,” said Tiley. “The back nine is quite tricky and it’s a lot longer than last year and the wind was swirling a little bit this morning, but I played well.
“I holed a good putt for birdie on 18 from about 30 foot to go out level par,” added the Royal Cinque Ports member, who turned pro in 2007 after a golf scholarship at Georgia State University.
“On the first I made a really good up-and-down, then on the second I made an unbelievable par and that steadied the ship for a little bit.
“I made a couple of birdies coming in thanks to some good wedge shots, so overall, it’s a pleasing round.
“I think this course suits my game. I was hitting the ball relatively straight and keeping it in play, and because of that you get a lot of wedge shots, and I’m pretty useful with a wedge in my hand.
“I’ve been practising a little bit more on my strengths within my game leading up to this week and that has shown so far.
“It’s been a long time since I’ve been in contention going into the weekend, so I’m looking forward to it and I’ll see what I can do.”
Fellow overnight leader Robin Sciot-Siegrist dropped down the leaderboard after a two-over par 73, as a group of four players sit three shots behind Tiley.
English pair Dave Coupland and fellow Kent pro Matt Ford, South Africa’s Bryce Easton and Spain’s Santiago Tarrio Ben share second place on seven-under.
Three-time European Tour winner Grégory Havret, who won the European Amateur Championship 20 years ago, is one of four players a further stroke back as the three-time French Amateur Champion leads the host nation charge at the seventh edition of Le Vaudreuil Golf Challenge.
•The third round will begin at 7.40am local time on Saturday morning with Tiley teeing off at 12.50pm. Follow live scoring here