The “Gentle Giant” could be two rounds away from European Tour survival. Jonathan Thomson, 6 feet 9 inches tall, is three shots off the lead heading into the last 36 holes of the $2.1 million KLM Open in The Netherlands.
The European Tour’s tallest player trails China’s Ashun Wu as he seeks to get into the top 110 to ensure playing rights for 2019. He made a good start to his second round over The Dutch course in Spijk.
Beginning on the 10th tee, Thomson opened with seven birdies in his first eight holes, including six in a row to play his first nine in 29 shots. Three bogeys offset three birdies on his inward nine to see him return a 7-under 64 to reach 9 under.
“It was phenomenal today,” said Thomson, who goes by the nickname “Jigger” but whom coach Pete Cowen calls the Gentle Giant. “I rolled a lengthy one in on the first from 40 feet, got up and down at the next and then it was just flowing. The blade was hot.”
Thomson, who lost a playoff for the Made in Denmark tournament two weeks ago, is ranked 155th on the money list. However, the man who came through all three stages of the Qualifying School last year to earn his card is playing well at the right time in the season.
“I’m hitting some great form. I’m playing well. Confidence is getting higher and higher so that’s all that matters to me at this point of the season.
“Experiences like that (second in Denmark) are invaluable. Every single week you go out you’ve got to draw from those experiences when you’re under pressure and, with it being so recent, it’s kind of nice.”
Thomson hails from Rotherham, England, and grew up playing with 2016 Masters winner Danny Willett. He overcame leukemia at age 7 but still managed to realize his dream of making it to the European Tour. A Thomson win would be one of the stories of the season.
Wu returned a 5-under 66 to go with his opening 64 to move to 12 under.
“I kept a good feeling and made a lot of birdies today,” said Wu, who’s looking for his third European Tour win.