Paris, France (SportsNetwork.com) - Kevin Stadler carded a 3-under 68 on Friday and that extended his lead to three shots heading into the weekend at the Alstom Open de France.
Stadler, who held a 1-shot lead over Marcel Siem entering Friday's second round, is at 10-under 132 through 36 holes in his first ever visit to Paris. The American is looking for his second win on the European tour after taking first place at the Johnnie Walker Classic back in 2006.
The next-closest challenger is Victor Riu, who ended Friday with a 4-under 67, which was good enough to put him at 7-under after two rounds. Siem could not keep up with Stadler as the German carded a 72 and is in sole possession of third place at 5-under 137, five shots back of the lead.
There is a 7-shot gap between Stadler and those tied for fourth place at 3- under. Defending champion Graeme McDowell shot a 69 on the day and he shares fourth place with Michael Hoey (66), Thongchai Jaidee (69), Scott Jamieson (70), Mark Foster (70), Jamie Donaldson (72) and Stephen Gallacher (73).
Gallacher began Friday just two shots back of the lead, but a 73 dropped him to 3-under for the week.
U.S. Open champion Martin Kaymer is eight shots back at 2-under 140 and he is tied for 11th with five.
Stadler, starting on the back nine, picked up right where he left off on Thursday. After parring the first two holes, Stadler made his first birdie of the day at No. 12. He then rattled off three straight birdies from 14 after a par at 13.
The 34-year-old put things in cruise control for a while with six straight pars from No. 17. Then came the par-4 fifth hole, and with it the first sign of trouble from Stadler all week.
Stadler, the only player in the event who did not drop a shot in the first round, made his first bogey of the week to fall back to 3-under for the day and 10-under for the tournament.
He got that shot right back, however, by pouring in birdies at both six and seven. After a par at No. 8, Stadler made a mess of the par-5 ninth hole, his last, and had to settle for double-bogey.
"It was not exactly how I planned to finish the day, but overall it was another good day so it's all good," Stadler said. "I putted brilliantly the first couple of days. I got a little sloppy on my final nine today, but other than that struck the ball very well as well, had a lot of chances and rolled in a lot of nice putts."
Stadler is pleased with the way his game is progressing. Since winning the Phoenix Open on the PGA Tour earlier this year, Stadler only has one top-10 finish, which came at The Masters.
"It's been a little rotten the last couple of months, but it's starting to show some signs of form again and I've hit plenty of good shots the last couple of days," he said. "Hopefully I can do more of the same at the weekend, the putter keeps cooperating and I am looking forward to the last couple of days."
Riu had a solid day with five birdies, including three in a row from the 14th. His lone blemish came at the 18th hole, which he bogeyed for the second day in a row, dropping him three shots back of Stadler.
Siem could not recreate the round he had on day one, which included eight birdies and two bogeys. On Friday, Siem carded just four birdies and struggled to five bogeys.
NOTES: With the cut line at 3-over, 69 players advanced to the weekend ... Stadler's bogey on No. 5 snapped a streak of 31 straight holes without a dropped shot this week ... World No. 22 Victor Dubuisson (68) was the lone player to shoot a bogey-free round Friday, which was good enough to get him past the cut. He finished 36 holes at 2-over 144.