A man named Bond conjured up a storyline that could have come straight from the pen of Ian Fleming when he answered a last-minute call from his country to shoot his way to the top of the leaderboard at the ISPS Handa Wales Open.
Liam Bond had not teed up in a European Tour event for 18 months when he was offered a late sponsor’s invite on the eve of the tournament when another player withdrew.
With no time for a practice round, he showed no signs of being out of service as he added a second round 68 to his opening 69 to grab the halfway lead on five under par.
As established European Tour winners like Rafa Cabraera-Bello, Graeme Storm and Ryder Cup Captain Paul McGinley gathered behind him, Bond fired his way to the front with five birdies on the second day.
Outside the world’s top 1,500 ranked golfers, Bond has mixed in these circles regularly before when he won his card through qualifying school in 2010 at the 16th time of asking – a tour record.
He had decided to not even chance his fortunes on the second division Challenge Tour this season but has been playing well in local PGA West Region events.
“The pressure’s off really,” said Bond. “I’m not trying to grind out and keep my card so I’m just trying to play and enjoy it.
“When I was on tour, I was trying to work harder and hit more balls and everything was under close scrutiny. Now I just seem to have relaxed and I’m playing a lot better, there’s a lot to be said for it!
“I’ll have my slippers on tonight, staying at home. Won’t have the pipe out but a cup of tea and I’ll be quite happy.”
From just down the road near Chepstow, Bond can count on lots of local support as he takes aim over the weekend at a first prize of £300,000, which would exceed his entire career earnings on the European and Challenge Tours.
As Wales and British Lions past and present Martyn Williams and Jonathan Davies entertained the tented village with a Q&A session, Bond wore the red of his home nation while he burned past seasoned international campaigners.
Overnight leader Espen Kofstad’s second round 74 was 10 shots worse than his opening effort but he still shares second place with Tjaart Van Der Walt on four under.
Cabraera-Bello, Storm and McGinley are a shot further back alongside Peter Uihlein and Gregory Bourdy.
Spectators wishing to cheer on the home hope can purchase tickets on the gate on Saturday and Sunday for a great value family experience which features more tented village Q&A sessions with rugby legends, golf coaching, kidszone and exhibition stands.