Oliver Bekker started his round with a bogey on Friday, but he more than made up for that with eight birdies on his way to a seven-under-par 65 in the second round of the Challenge Tour’s Hopps Open de Provence at Golf International de Pont Royal in Mallemort, France.
With four birdies on each nine, he climbed 36 spots on the leaderboard to a share of third place at nine-under-par, five off the lead which was held by Austria’s Lukas Nemecz, who also signed for a 65. Nemecz had a three-stroke lead over Marcel Schneider of Germany, with Sweden’s Simon Forsstrom in third at 10-under.
The 36-year-old Bekker has been on a sustained campaign to win his European Tour card, and, if he finishes inside the top 15 on the Challenge Tour ranking at the end of the season, he will have succeeded. He is currently ranked fifth, and is projected to climb into fourth in his current position in the tournament.
Just one stroke behind him was Jacques Blaauw, after a second-round three-under-par 69 took him to eight-under for the tournament. He, too, is campaigning to try and won European Tour exemption, and is currently projected into 27th place.
Hennie du Plessis carded a two-under-par 70 to move to five-under and a share of 23rd, and JC Ritchie’s two-under took him to two-under for the tournament and a share of 54th. Both are projected to drop one place into 32nd and 24th respectively.