Unlikely Bond grabs Wales Open lead
Newport, Wales (Sports Network) - Liam Bond shot 3-under-par 68 on Friday and grabbed a 1-stroke lead through the second round of the Wales Open.
Bond, a local club professional who was invited to play this event on Wednesday, is 5-under-par 137 through 36 holes at windy Celtic Manor Resort.
"I only live 10 minutes down the road so it's nice to be so close to home," said Bond. "I'll be at home with my slippers on this afternoon and a nice cup of tea."
Overnight leader Espen Kofstad stumbled to a 3-over 74 and dropped into a tie for second place with Tjaart van der Walt (71) at 4-under 138.
Next year's European Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley (69), Graeme Storm (67), Gregory Bourdy (72), Rafael Cabrera-Bello (68) and Peter Uihlein (70) share fourth at minus-3.
"I have been playing well for a few months and have not turned it into a result," said McGinley. "I could do with a good result. I played lovely controlled golf and hopefully the wind blows at the weekend. It's very bunched as most leaderboards are now on the European Tour. You have got to play well."
Bond, the club pro at nearby St Pierre, lost his tour card after finishing 191st on the Order of Merit in 2011.
"I'm playing way better than when I had my card in 2011," he said. "If I was on tour this year I would be loving it but I put myself under a lot of pressure when I was on the tour."
The 43-year-old Welshman countered a pair of bogeys with five birdies on Friday to hit the clubhouse at 5-under.
"I feel my game is still pretty good and I only found out I was playing on Wednesday afternoon, so I didn't have any time to over-prepare like I have done in the past. The pressure is off because I'm not trying to keep my card," he admitted.
Kofstad still held the lead at 6-under through nine holes when Bond finished, but the overnight leader couldn't hold the advantage, mixing six bogeys and three birdies during his 3-over second round.
NOTES: Bond is ranked No. 1,528 in the world. In 2010 he earned his European Tour card via his 16th visit to qualifying school ... Kofstad is seeking his first European Tour win. His lone top-10 finish of the season came at the Open de Espana in April. He missed his next eight cuts following that event ... Defending champion Thongchai Jaidee is tied for 55th place at 3-over.
08/30 15:17:08 ET