Calum Hill continued to shine in the early stages of his rookie European Tour season as he fired a superb 64 to earn the halfway lead at the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open.

Hill, twice a winner on the Challenge Tour last season, leads on 12 under ahead of Brandon Stone, Thomas Detry and Matthieu Pavon, while Hill’s fellow Scot Connor Syme is also well placed on 10 under after adding a 66 to his opening 68.

Playing in just his sixth European Tour event, Hill roared to the top of the leaderboard when he holed his ninth birdie putt of the day on the ninth having earlier enjoyed a hot start with five birdies over his first seven holes.

Hill missed this chance, but it was a rare blip as he carded nine birdies in his 64 Hill missed this chance, but it was a rare blip as he carded nine birdies in his 64 Hill missed this chance, but it was a rare blip as he carded nine birdies in his 64

“So far, so good,” said Hill, who made an encouraging start to his first full season on Tour with a 13th place finish at last week’s Alfred Dunhill Championship in South Africa. “We seem to be following the sunshine so we’re always playing in warm weather and the courses are in great condition, so can’t complain.

“I haven’t noticed a huge difference yet coming from Challenge Tour. Obviously the fields are stronger but it’s the same as every tournament you play – you go out and do your best, see where that puts you at the end of the week and dig in when you need to.

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“The last couple of days the game has been nice. I managed to get the putter going well today, which added up to a good score. Last week was a slow start and I played better at the weekend. It’s just built on from there.”

Stone had earlier set the clubhouse mark at 11 under after a 67 blighted only by a lone bogey at the eighth – his 17th – and the South African ended the day in a three-way share of second when Detry and Pavon both returned 66s.