Scotland’s Paul Lawrie maintained his lead on the second morning of the Johnnie Walker Championships at The Gleneagles Hotel but he did not have to look far for a real threat to his hopes of winning the title.
Playing partner Jose Maria Olazabal recorded five birdies in the opening six holes of his second round to move into second place on six under par, with Lawrie one shot ahead.
The Scot, seeking his first title since 2002, enjoyed a steady start matching Olazabal's three on the 12th hole and then he picked up a further shot on the 13th.
Olazabal has been having his own fight with more rheumatic pains and is unable to practise as much as he would like, but they say that class is permanent and it came shining through in the windy conditions.
Also making an early move was 18-year-old Danny Lee, the New Zealander who became The European Tour’s youngest event winner in February.
Lee, an amateur when he captured the Johnnie Walker Classic near Perth in Australia, came back from an opening bogey on the tenth with a hat-trick of birdies to be in the group on three under.
The New Zealander was one shot behind a host of players on four under par, including Denmark’s Søren Hansen, Argentina’s Ricardo Gonzalez and England’s Anthony Wall.
Gonzalez in particular was enjoying the challenging conditions, picking up three birdies on the 12th, 14th and 15th after dropping a shot on the tenth.
India’s Shiv Kapur was also a man on the move in the early stages as he picked up a birdies on the 12th and 13th to go onto five under par as a host of challengers gathered behind the leader.