Ashley Chesters chasing Euro win
Shropshire’s Ashley Chesters is chasing his first Europen Tour victory after claiming the clubhouse lead on day two of the weather-affected Porsche European Open in Hamburg.
The Hawkstone Park ace shrugged off a four hour delay due to rain to shoot a second round 67.
Chesters and fellow Englishman Jordan Smith were tied at the top of the leaderboard on eight under par when a second heavy downpour of the day forced play to be halted due to a waterlogged course.
But when play resumed almost four hours later, Smith bogeyed his final hole of the day - the ninth - and Chesters picked up a shot at the eighth on his way to a second round of 67.
That gave the 27-year-old a nine-under-par halfway total and one-shot lead over Bangladesh’s Siddikur Rahman, with Smith a shot further back after his own 67.
“I definitely didn’t hit it as well off the tee but the putter made up for a lot, so that’s always nice,” said Chesters, who is enjoying his first year on the Euro Tour. The world number 446 gained his European Tour card via the qualifying school in 2016 and has missed seven cuts in 14 events this season, with a best finish of joint eighth in the Hassan Trophy.
“(Leading) is a completely new experience. The whole year has been a learning experience really so hopefully I’ll learn something again, whatever happens.”
Smith finished top of the Challenge Tour rankings in 2016 and is currently 42nd on the Race to Dubai, having already earned enough money to guarantee another season on the European Tour.
“I’m loving the course and playing good so have just got to go into the weekend and give it my best,” the 24-year-old said. “I was in a good flow and would have loved to have got my last two holes done and dusted (without the delay), but you can’t really help the weather.
“I had a good year last year and the target for this year was just to keep my tour card. I managed to do that pretty quickly, which was nice, so the next aim is to win an event.”
After his round, Chesters said: “I definitely didn’t hit it as well off the tee today but the putting made up for a lot so that was nice.
“I didn’t even realise I had gone bogey free today, it didn’t really come into my head on the way around so, it’s always nice to keep the bogeys off the card - it’s the easiest way to get a good score.
“It’s a completely new experience, tomorrow is going to be totally new to me but the whole year has been a learning experience for me. I seem to have learnt a lot so far so I’m guessing tomorrow is going to be the same.”