A superb five under par 66 propelled Englishman Gary Wolstenholme into a share of the Mallorca Open Senior lead at six under par alongside compatriot Paul Wesselingh, but the pair have a host of contenders lurking close behind following the second round of the Senior Tour’s opening event of 2012.
Wolstenholme, who signed for a one under par round of 70 at Pula Golf Club on Friday, made seven birdies over the course of an impressive showing on the Balearic Island, while Wesselingh, who, having continued the fine form that saw him seize a share of the first round lead, carded a second consecutive three under par 68 that included five birdies, meaning the fellow countrymen will take a slim lead into Sunday’s final round, one shot clear of a trio at five under par.
Beginning the day two shots behind the overnight leaders, Wolstenholme, the 2011 Senior Tour Rookie of the Year, came flying out of the blocks at the José María Olazábal-designed layout on Saturday morning, finding birdie at the short second after a monstrous 40-foot putt.
He found another birdie at the par four fourth, while a bogey five at the seventh was sandwiched between a further two birdies at the long sixth and par three eighth holes – thanks to another sizeable putt – helping him reach the turn in 33 blows.
The Egham-born man matched this total coming home, finding a further three birdies on the back nine at the 11th, 13th, and 15th holes with a second bogey of the day at the par four 17th as the 2010 Casa Serena Open Champion vies for his second Senior Tour title in Spain this week.
He said: “It’s funny how things work out, yesterday I played average and today was better. This is my first tournament here and it’s a tough course so I can’t expect miracles, but I learned a few things from the silly mistakes I made yesterday and I have been hitting great shots.”
Wesselingh, playing his first event since claiming a card for this season with a second place finish at the Qualifying School earlier this year, again produced another solid round with just two bogeys coming at the par four fifth and 16th holes while the Kedleston Park pro found birdies at the second, fourth, and seventh holes on the front nine to reach the turn two under par for the day, with back-to-back birdies on the short 13th and par four 14th giving the 51 year old a share of the lead with one round remaining.
A makeable birdie putt at 18 that would have given him outright possession of the lead failed to drop, but it was still a satisfying day for the Liverpudlian considering the circumstances.
"I played really good, very solid play I am happy how it all went,” said Wesselingh. “This is the first tournament for me and I never expected to start this way, I didn't come out with any expectations, only to finish top 30 this year.
“But I had two great draws that helped a lot, I played with DJ Russell yesterday, who was a pro in my club, and Dick Mast today, who I played two rounds with at the School, so they were great rounds that have really settled me in. I am delighted. I will look forward tomorrow, with no more expectations other than enjoy it.”
Australia’s Mike Harwood, a five time winner on The European Tour, looked to be putting the best round of the day together having reached the 16th tee at six under par, but successive bogeys at the final two par fours mean he will have to make do with a three-way tie for third place alongside Paraguay’s Angel Franco and Spain’s Juan Quiros – who both shot rounds of 68 – one shot back going into Sunday.
Andrew Sherborne of England (67) and Spain’s Manuel Moreno (70) are a further two shots back, while the other co-leaders following Friday’s first round, America’s Dick Mast and England’s David J Russell, both struggled to find the form that took them to the top of the leaderboard after the first round, matching each other with four bogeys and three birdies on the way to one over par rounds of 72.
Mast and Russell sit four off the pace alongside 2011 John Jacobs Trophy winner Peter Fowler (71) and last season’s Number Two, England’s Barry Lane (69), with a fascinating day in store in Sunday’s deciding round as the congested field contests for the €30,000 first prize in the augural Senior Tour event of the 2012 season.