Rookie Moves into First

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HILVERSUM, Netherlands -- Fredrik Widmark of Sweden posted a 4-under 66 Friday to take the lead midway through the Dutch Open. He stands at 9-under-par 131 and owns a two-shot advantage over five players at Hilversumsche Golf Club.
 
Steen Tinning, who briefly held a piece of the lead, shot a second-round 67 and shares second place with Fredrik Andersson (66), Gordon Brand, Jr. (66), Markus Brier (65) and Soren Hansen (65). The group finished 36 holes at 7-under-par 133.
 
Widmark three-putted the first hole for an early bogey but it was smooth sailing from there. He holed a pair of long birdie putts at two and three to get to going but dropped a shot at the 472-yard, par-4 sixth.
 
The Swede then tallied four birdies over his last 11 holes to earn his first 36-hole lead since the Italian Open in early May of this year.
 
Widmark, a tour rookie, tied for seventh at the Italian Open for his only top-10 finish in 2003. He has made cuts but has only accumulated enough money to sit 145th on the Order of Merit. He needs to either visit the winner's circle on Sunday or make enough to get into the top-115 on the money list to retain his playing privileges next season.
 
'All through my career I have played well spring and fall but summer hasn't been that great,' admitted Widmark. 'That has been the case this year as well so I hope for a good strong finish. The goals are clear, I know what I have to do and that makes you focus on the things you need to do.'
 
Tinning, the brother of Solheim Cup player Iben Tinning, drew even with Widmark after an eagle at the 12th, his fourth, and a trio of birdies at 17, 18 and No. 2. He dropped shots at four and six to fall into the tie for second.
 
Tinning has been battling serious back problems and announced after his round on Friday that following his title defense in two weeks at the Madrid Open, he will retire from the European Tour.
 
Brier sits in the precarious spot of 116th on the Order of Merit and needs a top-10 finish this week to get into the field next week.
 
'Today was a very important round,' said Brier. 'It was a similar situation last year. I was a bit further down but played all right the last two weeks so maybe I need a bit more pressure. I have been hitting it well the last four or five weeks and it just hasn't come off and I hope I can pull it off for all four rounds this week.'
 
Brand is in a different position as he is 30th in career earnings on the European Tour and despite being 147th on the money table, will have a tour card in 2004 because of his spot on the career list.
 
'I have been playing very poor for a few years now,' he said. 'It is nice that I have that career money category but it would be nice to retain my card through the Order of Merit.'
 
Andersson mixed an eagle, four birdies and two bogeys for his round of 66 while Hansen was flawless on Friday with five birdies and no bogeys for a 65.
 
Overnight co-leaders Jamie Donaldson and Gary Murphy, Paul Eales and David Lynn are tied for seventh at minus-6. Alastair Forsyth, the third co-leader after the first round, struggled to a 2-over 72 and is tied for 18th at minus-4.
 
Tobias Dier, the 2002 champion, survived the cut on the number with a second- round 71 to finish 36 holes at even-par 140.
 
Related Links:
  • Full-field scores from the Dutch Open
  • Full coverage - Dutch Open