Chris Doak continues to lead the Scottish charge in his homeland after a second round 68 at the Macdonald Spey Valley Golf Course saw the 33 year old maintain his grip on the Scottish Hydro Challenge.
The Team Scottish Hydro player looked like he was going to reduce the rest of the field into a battle for second spot early in the second round after three birdies in his opening four holes sent him six shots clear of the field.
But a problem with his driver – which saw the Scotsman cancel out four more birdies with a double and two single bogeys – coupled with the brilliant 64s of Portugal’s José Filipe Lima, Italy’s Federico Colombo and England’s Matthew Southgate saw that lead reduced to a single stroke heading into the weekend.
Doak finished the day on 11 under par 131, with Lima moving to second spot on ten under and Colombo and Southgate a further shot back.
Gavin Dear, another Team Scottish Hydro player, made a positive move up the leaderboard after his 66 saw him move into fifth place on eight under.
Despite his problem off the tee, Doak remained appropriately upbeat given the level of performance he achieved with the other 13 clubs in his bag. He can also rely upon the sound advice of his coach, the legendary Bob Torrance, before he tees off in round three on Saturday afternoon.
“I did struggle with the driver off the tee today,” said Doak. “My fades were turning into slices so I got into a bit of trouble on the seventh and the 11th which I doubled.
“But it was much the same as yesterday apart from the driver going further right. I thought I had sorted the problem on the range last night but I clearly haven’t. I’ll need to get Bob a taxi up here tonight to try and help me out! I will be giving him a call tonight to see if he can sort me out.
“He can usually help you without seeing what you are doing. I think he just constantly thinks about the swings of all the guys that he works with, so if you say you are doing a certain thing he can usually dive into the memory bank and give you something to work with.
“But it really is just the driver – from the rescue through to the putter is great, and the putter is still the big difference. I just kept to my Jason Day routine and it seems to be working well. I’m in a good position but I just have to keep on going and see what happens on Sunday.”
Lima is hugely excited about the coming weekend as the Portuguese continues his comeback to the top level after a turbulent year last season that saw him change his coach no less than five times.
“It was a lovely day out there,” he said. “I played great and made only two mistakes which led to the bogey and the double bogey. Two bad drives got me into trouble there but apart from that the game was very good.
“I had a very bad year last year – I changed coaches five times before I finally went back to my first coach that I had when I was on The European Tour. His name is Beniot Willemart, who I had worked with for 13 years before last year.
“It got a bit out of control I suppose. I just kept trying a new guy and couldn’t get comfortable. The more times you do that then the less confidence you have but I am happy to be back with Beniot and the swing is becoming more solid every day. We all know golf and that is making me more confident so it is an encouraging time for me finally.”