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Scotsman George Murray and Bernd Ritthammer of Germany (pictured by Getty Images) took route 66 to the top at the Swiss Challenge presented by Association Suisse de Golf as they both carded second successive five under rounds to share the lead heading into the weekend.

The two players, who have now carded four rounds of 66 between them, were a shot clear of the chasing pack on ten under par, with Niccolo Quintarelli of Italy and Belgian Pierre Relecom in close pursuit on nine under par.

Ritthammer, chasing a maiden European Challenge Tour title, did not record a single bogey in perfect conditions at the picturesque Golf Sempachersee and a chip-in from just off the green at the eighth hole – his last – gave him the perfect finish to an impressive round.

The Munich player has admitted that watching his compatriots Moritz Lampert, who has won twice this season on the Challenge Tour, and Florian Fritsch climb into the top ten of the Rankings and edge towards European Tour promotion has made him even more determined to succeed this year.

“I feel like now it’s my turn,” said the 27 year old, who played his first and only campaign on The European Tour in 2012 after earning his card through Qualifying School.

“Both of them are playing really well. Obviously Moritz has been incredible but Florian – not having played many events this year and still being top ten in the Rankings is very impressive.

“I feel like, I want to catch them! I don’t want to fall back too far and that’s what I’m trying to do right now.

“It was a bit different to the first round today. For my first nine, the long game wasn’t quite as solid as yesterday. I did miss a couple of shots but I didn’t get it really close. The pace of my putting today was brilliant though, I never left myself a really hard putt.

“I was never in danger of a bogey. On the back nine I started hitting it better, hitting the fairways and getting it close to the pin with my approaches. A couple of putts came very close but I felt like I could get a couple of birdies at the end. Then I chipped in at the end, which was very fortunate because I hit it way too fast but it hit the pin, so I got lucky.

“I feel good standing over the ball and my putting was a lot better today so I’m looking forward to the weekend.”

Murray, meanwhile, was happy to have returned to the kind of form which in 2011 earned him a runner-up finish in the Alfred Dunhill Championship in South Africa followed a month later by a tied third finish at the prestigious Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, finishing alongside Graeme McDowell and only behind Rory McIlroy and winner Michael Hoey.

“I didn’t play as well as the first day,” said the 31 year old, whose sole Challenge Tour win came at the 2010 Scottish Hydro Challenge. “I was slightly more erratic today but managed to hole a couple more putts.

“Hopefully I’ll drive it well and putt it well over the weekend, that would be nice. My best hole was actually the 11th, which I bogeyed, because I lost my ball off the tee and then knocked another drive down, hit it close and holed it so that kept me going a bit. I teed off at the ninth, so a double-bogey early on and I would have been furious.

“I love it here, it’s a beautiful place. It just keeps you calm, you just look at the mountains and you don’t have a whole lot to worry about.

“My year so far has been terrible but hopefully it will start to turn around and I’ll start to play better. I found something in my swing last week where I could hit my irons well so hopefully that will continue.”

Relecom carded the best round of his career at the sun-kissed venue, just outside Lucerne, firing six birdies and an eagle en route to an eight under par 63 and he was joined in third place by Quintarelli, who finished with a flourish thanks to two birdies in the last two holes to sign for a five under 66.

Leading Golf Scores:

132 G Murray  (Sco) 66 66, B Ritthammer (Ger) 66 66,
133 P Relecom  (Bel) 70 63, N Quintarelli (Ita) 67 66,
135 K Samooja (Fin) 71 64,
136 F Fritsch  (Ger) 68 68, M Delpodio  (Ita) 68 68, G Boyd  (Eng) 70 66, C Ford (Eng) 67 69, M Eggenberger (am) (Sui) 68 68,
137 R Davies (Wal) 68 69, H Joannes  (Bel) 69 68, J Moul  (Eng) 66 71, J Huldahl (Den) 69 68, S Brown (Eng) 67 70,
138 F Bergamaschi (Ita) 69 69, D Ulrich (Sui) 72 66, J Pastor (Esp) 68 70, R Gouveia (Por) 69 69, J Senior (Eng) 67 71, W Roebuck (Eng) 67 71, S Fallon (Eng) 68 70, R McEvoy  (Eng) 72 66,
139 T Lee (USA) 71 68, P Oriol (Esp) 70 69, D Law (Sco) 73 66, J Sarasti  (Esp) 68 71, R Steiner (Aut) 68 71, S Garcia Rodriguez (Esp) 68 71, E Espana (Fra) 71 68, A Gabella (Sui) 73 66, S Gros (Fra) 71 68, R Kind (Ned) 70 69,
140 M Rominger  (Sui) 74 66, A Tadini (Ita) 68 72, A Kirstein (Ger) 67 73, M Trappel  (Aut) 73 67, S Einhaus (Ger) 72 68, G Porteous (Eng) 74 66, R De Sousa (Sui) 69 71, W Booth  (Sco) 72 68, C Paisley  (Eng) 69 71,
141 L Weber (Fra) 72 69, B Chapellan (Fra) 70 71, C Russo (Fra) 73 68, R McGowan  (Eng) 70 71, S Little (Eng) 74 67, H Bacher (Aut) 72 69, N Kearney (Irl) 70 71, J Gonnet  (Fra) 69 72, J Legarrea (Esp) 71 70, B Parker  (Eng) 73 68, C Simon (Esp) 65 76, A Björk (Swe) 68 73, S Tiley (Eng) 71 70, B Dredge (Wal) 68 73, A Dunbar (Nir) 69 72, W Harrold (Eng) 69 72, M Wiegele  (Aut) 68 73, F Praegant (Aut) 69 72,
142 C Arendell (USA) 71 71, J Clément  (Sui) 70 72, D Wuensche  (Ger) 74 68, B Hebert  (Fra) 71 71, M Glauert (Ger) 69 73, G Woolgar (Eng) 71 71, T Murray (Eng) 71 71, J Roos (RSA) 74 68, M Orrin (Eng) 72 70, G Watremez (Bel) 73 69, X Puig (Esp) 71 71, C Shinkwin (Eng) 70 72, L Claverie (Esp) 72 70, O Wilson (Eng) 71 71, J Girrbach (am) (Sui) 72 70, B Rusch (am) (Sui) 73 69,

CUT

143 R McGee (Irl) 72 71, G Pinto (Por) 73 70, A Rai (Eng) 74 69, M Lampert (Ger) 71 72, A Bernadet  (Fra) 75 68, J Garcia Del Moral (Esp) 74 69, A Wrigley (Eng) 73 70, A Hortal  (Esp) 74 69, R Russell (Sco) 75 68, J Rask (Swe) 74 69, M Haines  (Eng) 74 69, M Iten (am) (Sui) 71 72,
144 T Pulkkanen  (Fin) 72 72, J Gibb (Eng) 74 70, G Main (USA) 71 73, T Linard (Fra) 71 73, A Kaleka  (Fra) 77 67, A Maestroni  (Ita) 71 73, B Newman (USA) 72 72,
145 A Domingo (Esp) 70 75, T Sluiter  (Ned) 73 72, P Erofejeff (Fin) 75 70, D Lokke (Den) 74 71, C Aguilar  (Esp) 74 71, F Svanberg  (Sui) 72 73, D Vancsik (Arg) 72 73,
146 J Frazer (Wal) 74 72, D Booth (Eng) 72 74, M Decottignies-Lafon (Fra) 73 73, J Fly (USA) 73 73, C Caviezel (Sui) 76 70, D Callaway (Eng) 76 70, F Becker (Ger) 69 77, J Gallegos  (Esp) 72 74, N Kimsey (Eng) 74 72, O Lieser (Cze) 71 75, R Cazaubon (Mex) 76 70,
147 R Furrer (Sui) 76 71, J Kelly (Nor) 77 70, M Hocaoglu (Tur) 75 72, B Evans  (Eng) 74 73, D Geminiani (Ita) 77 70, P Maddy (Eng) 73 74, M Schneider (Ger) 73 74, M Dobias  (Sui) 71 76,
148 D Frittelli (RSA) 72 76, L Nemecz (Aut) 78 70, J Burnier (Sui) 72 76,
149 S Castelanelli (Sui) 75 74, T Lawrence (RSA) 77 72, D Suchan  (Cze) 76 73, M Novy  (Cze) 73 76,
150 J Mommo  (Fin) 75 75, K Benz (Sui) 73 77,
151 N Meitinger  (Ger) 74 77, N Thommen  (Sui) 73 78, A Rota (Ita) 77 74, M Carroll (USA) 75 76,
152 R Busher (Eng) 81 71, J Sloan (Eng) 77 75,
153 J Johnson (Eng) 75 78, S Grant  (Irl) 79 74, V Phillips (Eng) 78 75, A Roberts (Eng) 76 77, J Nodér (Sui) 76 77,
154 A Quiros (Esp) 80 74, P Bech (Esp) 75 79, M Daley (Eng) 83 71, J Garcia Pinto (Esp) 79 75, L Tintera  (Cze) 77 77,
155 S Cremer (Ger) 76 79, G Snow  (Ken) 78 77,
156 P Dedek (am) (Cze) 78 78,
157 F Colombo (Ita) 79 78,
158 A Savolainen  (Fin) 78 80, K Berger (Ger) 80 78, E Amacher (am) (Sui) 80 78,
159 D Littlefield (USA) 80 79,
169 K Kalafatoglu (Tur) 83 86,
** C Macaulay  (Sco) 74 DQ

Source: European Tour

Author

Graham J Gordon, The Editor and Owner, GolfblogspotUK

The GolfblogspotUK website is owned and run by former Walker Cup player and European Tour card holder, Graham J Gordon, from Scotland, the Home of Golf. The owner is a golf fanatic who had to retire early from competitive tour play due to a back injury that required surgery. Graham wishes to share his knowledge and own experiences of the game with the GolfblogspotUK community and to receive your feedback on all aspects of the sport. Graham has been playing the game for over 20 years and received a great deal of pleasure from the sport. He has met several friends and visited many different places around the world, thanks to playing the great game of golf. Time to put a little back into the game to help others.

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