Ignacio Garrido (Getty Images)
Ignacio Garrido made his move late on the second day to claim the outright lead in the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles.
Having managed three birdies on the outward nine, the Spaniard followed up a birdie on the 11th and 17th to complement two bogies.
It was enough for a three under par 69 and took him one shot clear on eight under at the halfway stage of the tournament.
“It’s always a great feeling,” Garrido said. “That’s what we work for. There’s still a lot to be done but tomorrow I would rather be in this position than a few shots further back.
“It was a difficult start. It’s not an easy course; it doesn’t give you that many birdies straightaway.
“We got probably the worst part of the day when we started. We had an hour of rain in probably the toughest holes.
“It wasn’t the easiest but I managed to keep my game together and even managed a couple of birdies in those first five or six holes. And then everything was a bit easier when the rain stopped.
“My game was solid, just like yesterday. I didn't do anything silly and three under (today) is a pretty good score.”
Lorenzo Gagli, Thomas Björn, Peter Lawrie and Englishmen Kenneth Ferrie and Mark Foster form a five-strong chasing pack one shot adrift of Garrido.
Italian Gagli completed his first round 69 this morning before shooting a four under par 68; Björn, Lawrie and Ferrie went round in three under today; and Foster remains in with a chance of glory despite following up yesterday’s 66 with a relatively modest 71.
Pablo Larrazábal, the Spaniard, and England’s James Morrison sit one shot further adrift after carding 68 and 69 respectively.
English pair Oliver Wilson and Richard McEvoy, Scot Marc Warren, American Anthony Kang - whose six under par 66 represented the lowest round of the day among the leading contenders - Sweden’s Magnus A Carlsson and French duo Raphaël Jacquelin and Victor Dubuisson all sit five under after 36 holes.
Italian Gagli, who recorded birdies on the second, fourth, sixth and eighth, said: “I played very good these two days and I’m very happy with that.”
He held the lead for some time before former Ryder Cup vice-captain Björn overcame a bogey on the 15th with four birdies.
Having started on the 10th, the Dane could have gone one shot ahead but his birdie attempt on the last hole - the long ninth - dribbled past the edge of the cup.
“I’m just happy with my score at the moment. That leaves me in a good state or the weekend, and that’s all I'm concentrating on,” Björn said.
Ferrie, who was four under after the opening day, made four birdies and, despite bogies on the 10th and 17th, a birdie on the 18th saw him join the leaders before being overhauled by Garrido.
“I’ve been playing pretty well all year, hitting lots of good shots and hitting the greens and not making lots of putts,” he said.
Lawrie, the leader for a short time yesterday, made an impressive start with an eagle on the second and, despite a bogey on the next hole and the 13th, made birdies on the ninth, 12th and 14th to stay seven under.
The Irishman said: “I putted lovely, I really did. I’m just trying to be more positive - read the greens better and if they go in, they go in. It’s more of a case of positivity than negativity.”
Foster, who led after the first 18 holes, admitted it was a “frustrating” day, adding: “It was quite difficult out there but I’m sitting in a good position and I'll sleep on that and come back tomorrow in a better frame of mind. I’m right where I want to be.”