The Wales Open has reached it's halfway stage, with plenty of surprises along the way. It's been an enthralling couple of days at Celtic Manor—both of them absolutely impossible to predict.
There are some real battles to come over the next 24 hours, three of which are outlined below.
The Battle for Supremacy
The first day saw the emergence of Espen Kofstad who shot a superb 64. He was unable to maintain this on Friday, however, dropping 10 shots on his previous round to finish four under.
This let unheralded Welshman Liam Bond into the race, who overtook Kofstad with a three-under 68 to move to five under par overall.
Be honest - how many people expected world number 1,528 Liam Bond to be leading the Wales Open after two rounds? http://t.co/fh9MJREp0H— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) August 30, 2013
South African Tjaart van der Walt sprung up into joint second place with Kofstad, while European Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley is still in the hunt on three under.
It looks to be an eight-horse race right now, and the stage is set for what promises to be a gripping final two days.
The Battle for Ryder Cup Places
The Wales Open is the first qualifying event for next year's Ryder Cup, so it's natural that players have an occasional thought in that direction.
Following his unbelievable first day, Kofstad admitted his aspirations to BBC Sport by stating that “it would be great to play in the Ryder Cup, although I can't really expect a spot. But I put in a decent application today."
Bond, too, may find his thoughts drifting to the Ryder Cup, but it's important that the current competition remains his main focus.
For someone who only found out he was playing on Wednesday, it's safe to say his concentration isn't much of an issue.
Paul McGinley moves to one shot off the lead at the Wales Open. Be slightly ironic if he ended up winning the first Ryder Cup qualifier! JT— National Club Golfer (@NCGmagazine) August 30, 2013
The Battle With the Elements
The British summer has been kind to spectators, but the players will be wishing for some wind as we go into the third round. With so many water hazards around Celtic Manor, a following wind can make all the difference to a riskier shot.
In an effort to open a gap between rivals, there will be more risks taken on the last couple of days. Steady golf will only get you so far—at some point a statement will need to be made.
EuropeanTour.com reported that the hardest hole to play on day two was the 14th, which gave up just six birdies in comparison to 36 bogeys and 24 double bogeys or worse.
One shot can destroy a round, but also elevate it above all others. Look for a few of both on Day 3 of this captivating competition.