Wattel charges to the top of the leaderboard

8/25/2012 12:27:58 PM
Romain Wattel   (Getty Images)
Romain Wattel (Getty Images)
Frenchman Romain Wattel had an amazing seven birdies in ten holes to take over the lead in the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles.

Only joint 31st at halfway, Wattel charged from two under par to nine under and one in front of overnight pacesetters Richard Finch and Mark Foster.

The 21 year old from Montpellier was not the only player suddenly making his presence felt.

England's Gary Boyd had made the cut with nothing to spare at level par, but burst alongside Finch and Foster with a 64 containing two eagles and four birdies.

The first of the eagles came when he pitched in at the 350 yard 11th and he added another on the 513 yard last, the hole re-designed by Jack Nicklaus with the 2014 Ryder Cup in mind.

With defending champion Thomas Björn grabbing birdies at four of the first seven holes to move to seven under Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts was pushed down to joint tenth.

He needs a top two finish to claim a Ryder Cup debut by pushing Martin Kaymer out of the final automatic qualifying spot.

Björn has already been named as one of José María Olazábal's four assistant captains, but hopes a successful defence of the title might bring him into consideration for a wild card.

Wattel bogeyed the 481 yard 13th and fell into a four-way tie with Finch, Boyd and also Björn, who followed his outward 32 with a fifth birdie of the day on the short tenth.

Foster, who lost a play-off last year after taking a bogey six on the final hole, resumed with a bogey and at seven under was alongside Colsaerts, whose birdies at the first two holes were a huge boost to his Cup hopes.

Wattel came back with more birdies at the 14th and 16th and when he two-putted the last for another he was round in 63 and on 11 under set the clubhouse target.

It would have matched the course record but for the fact that placing was allowed on the fairways.

Wattel led Australian Brett Rumford by one and Scot Paul Lawrie by two, but Colsaerts's bogey at the short fourth left him five back and Björn dropped a shot on the 13th to be four behind.