Peter Fowler took the clubhouse lead in the weather-hit second round at the ISPS Handa PGA Seniors Championship but was left frustrated after a costly double bogey dented his title hopes.
The Australian, who celebrates his 53rd birthday today, resumed his second round with a birdie on the fourth hole – his 13th – nearly 24 hours after play was suspended mid-round on Friday at De Vere Slaley Hall due to a flooded course, with the tournament reduced to 54 holes.
Overnight rain meant play did not resume until 10.30am on Saturday and Fowler got off to the perfect start, two putting from just off the back edge of the fourth green for birdie.
However the 2011 European Senior Tour Order of Merit winner then pushed his tee shot into the hazard on the seventh hole – his 16th – and had to take a penalty drop, then spun his approach down the bank and three putted for a double bogey six.
Having posted three birdies in 12 holes before the suspension in play on Friday, Fowler signed for a round of 70 to move to two under par 142 for the Championship, three shots behind Mark James’s overnight target of five under par, with James among the later starters.
“It was a really good start when you have been hanging around, waiting to play for so long,” ,” said Fowler, who had two knee operations prior to the start of the season.. “I would have been happy to have kept on going yesterday but they have done a fantastic job with the course to make it playable after so much rain.
“It was a bit frustrating then after the birdie on four to double seven, which is one of the easier holes on the course. I’m happy with the way I played though – I’m not too disappointed.
“It was tough out there with the conditions but I played really well and had a lot of chances. I hit a lot of putts about six inches away from the hole so I had a lot of tap-ins.
“I feel pretty comfortable with my score. Anything under par is a good round here. Conditions have been pretty tough.”
Former Ryder Cup Captain James birdied the second hole to preserve his one shot lead over fellow Englishman Bob Cameron, who picked up a shot on the 11th hole after starting on the tenth tee.