The European No 1 Retief Goosen stamped his authority on this 34th and final Lancôme Trophy to open up a commanding lead here in Paris yesterday.
Goosen added a second round 65 to his opening 63 for a 14-under-par halfway total of 128 and a four-shot cushion over Spain's Carlos Rodiles, the runner-up here last year, and the Belgium youngster Nicolas Colsaerts, with Ireland's Ryder Cup player Paul McGinley a shot further back.
Colin Montgomerie made the cut with a mere shot to spare but Lee Westwood bogeyed the last to miss out by one in his first event since ending his three-year victory drought in Munich a fortnight ago.
Goosen, who has all but given up hope of defending his Order of Merit title as he is currently £1.2m behind his fellow South African Ernie Els, won the title here in 2000 and was runner-up the following year. On that occasion he lost a four-shot lead over the last four holes to Sergio Garcia but the 34-year-old is confident of holding on for his ninth Tour victory.
Yesterday, Goosen holed out from 105 yards for an eagle on the fifth and birdied the next three holes to be out in 31. "Pretty much all of my wins have come when leading from the front, including the US Open," he said. "Once I get in front I seem to be pretty comfortable there. I got off to a slow start today and made a good save from the bunker on the third before the eagle really got me going."
The second-placed pair Rodiles and Colsaerts both completed second successive rounds of 66.