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Fox Hangs Tough At Crans

Far from his best on day two Ryan Fox salvaged a sub par round to stay in touch with the leaders (Photo: Bruce Young)
A gutsy fightback after a poor start has kept Ryan Fox in touch with the leaders at the European Tour event in Switzerland.

Japan’s Hideto Tanihara holds down top spot through 36 holes, his 9-under total good for a two shot cushion from a group of three players including former champion Matt Fitzpatrick.

Fox ended the day in a share of 10th at 4-under for the week, one of only three Australasians to qualify for thre weekend.

Fellow Kiwi Josh Geary is at 2-under and T36 while Scott Hend survived a disappointing incident on the 18th hole when a spectator apparently picked up his ball and wandered off.

The long hitting Queenslander was 4-under for the day and the tournament at the time but took a triple bogey seven on the hole and finished 1-under.

That was enough to make the cut on the number, Hend later taking to Twitter to express his frustration.

Fox, too, had his problems on day two and after starting at the 10th hole went to the turn 2-over.

He dropped another shot at the third, his twelfth, to be back at even par and outside the cut line but found something in his game as he headed for the clubhouse.

With four birdies in his final six holes he got to 4-under for the tournament and heads to the weekend within touching distance of the lead.

Sam Brazel, Brett Rumford, Andrew Dodt, Adam Bland, Jason Norris, Jason Scrivener, Wade Ormsby and Marcus Fraser all missed the cut though Fraser made an ace at the eighth hole in his round of 71.

At the top of the standings Tanihara says his two-shot lead could have been better but for a cold putter.

He added a 66 to his opening 65 and said afterward his work on the greens was the only concern.

“My game was very consistent and if my putting was better I would have been able to get higher on the score,” he said.

“I was able to play like yesterday. I just want to focus on my putting more and then I will be better.

“There are a lot of great players here and I just want to concentrate on playing my game. Just want to focus and hopefully play two more days like this.”

Among the chasing pack is defending champion Matt Fitzpatrick who has an enviable record at the Crans sur Sierre course.

After missing the cut in his first start in 2014 he has finished runner-up, seventh and hoisted the trophy last year so is understandably feeling confident heading to the weekend.

“I’ll just play my own game, stick to the plan for each hole,” he said after signing for the best round of the day, a 6-under 64.

“I would say I probably play the golf course more aggressively than most people and I think I kind of know what I’m doing around here which is nice, so hopefully it kind of plays into my hands.

“Got off to a bad start, I wouldn’t even call it a slow start, a bad start. Two over through four but that is one reason why I love this golf course, you know you can get it back on the short par fours coming up after that, a couple par fives on your back nine and you’ve got chances coming in, so I was delighted to take them.”

KIERAN PRATT - THE LONG BUNNKER SHOT:

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