Friday, 19 March 2010

Peter Baker surged into a two stroke lead at the Open A.G.F. Allianz Côtes d’Armor Bretagne after a second round of three under par 67 took him to nine under 131 to move ahead of the rampaging Ross McGowan, who carded a brilliant 62, and Andrew Oldcorn.

Currently 23rd on the Rankings with just four events of the season remaining, Baker is hoping that his experience of playing at the very highest level for the majority of his distinguished career will stand him in good stead for the annual, nerve wracking climax to the Challenge Tour season.

With three European Tour career victories, and having excelled in one of golf’s most intense competitions, The Ryder Cup, Baker is confident that he can do enough over the next four weeks to break back into the Challenge Tour’s top 20 and secure a return to The European Tour.

“I think my experience will count for something in the run in,” said Baker, who memorably secured three points out of four against the USA in the 1993 Ryder Cup.

“It’s the one advantage I have over these young guys that I am up against out here – I have been in pressure situations before in my career and come through, so I hope to do enough to get my card back.

“I think the fact that I know in my own mind that I have been there and done is all that matters. I’m enjoying it as well, and played some nice stuff today.”

Baker’s impressive three under par 67 in some tough conditions was eclipsed by McGowan, who was in stunning form over the Golf Blue Green de Pléneuf Val André, carding nine birdies and just a single dropped shot as he came home in 29 to charge up the leaderboard and into contention for what would be a third victory of the 2007 season.

Having won already in his native England as well as Portugal, a victory in France on Sunday afternoon would put McGowan, currently second on the Rankings, in serious contention to end the season as Number One.

Oldcorn, meanwhile, needs a victory to invigorate his season and set up the chance of a late charge up the Rankings. The former PGA Championship winner added a second round 66 to his opening 67 to join McGowan on seven under.

One stroke behind the Scot are two of the Challenge Tour’s top players of 2007 – Welshman Jamie Donaldson and, of course, the Frenchman Michael Lorenzo-Vera.

Donaldson, a Challenge Tour champion in Guatemala at the start of the year, is Ranked sixth at the moment, while Lorenzo-Vera is fourth after a wonderfully consistent season that has seen him accrue eight finishes of sixth place of better to make him one of the richest players on tour in 2007.

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