Terry Price produced a brilliant display of ball-striking to fire a second round of six under par 66 at the European Senior Tour’s Pon Senior Open to move into a dominant three shot lead ahead of the final round.
The Australian looked imperious at points during round two at Winston Golf, and but for a few putts that stayed above ground, could have been heading into the final day with an even bigger lead.
At the end of the day, the 51 year old was more than happy to settle for a three stroke advantage over Bill Longmuir and Glenn Ralph, who, along with fourth placed Marc Farry, all matched Price’s second round 66 to stay well in the hunt for the €60,000 first prize on offer to Sunday’s winner.
Price had spoken of how close he was to being in the ‘zone’ following his first round 67, and he acknowledged that day two in Germany was even better.
“That is getting even closer again,” he confirmed. “I showed signs last week and then again yesterday and I have to say that today was better again. I struck the ball really well today and it feel like I could get really red-hot soon.
“It is heading in the right direction and I am very close to playing as well as I can. I am not entirely happy with my driver but apart from that it is all good. It was just very steady out there – I birdied all the holes that you really should out there and I struck it well.
“It will be nice to have a three shot lead going into the final round but the way I played today you could say that it should be more than that. But I have to be honest and say that none of that really bothers me anymore – I have seen too much water go under the bridge in this game to know that a three shot lead could become nothing in one bad shot out there.
“The main thing I have to do tomorrow is concentrate on my own game and let the rest take care of itself.”
Longmuir credited his outstanding performance to a change of putter that made a huge difference in his performance on the greens.
“I changed my putter during the last round last week and shot 69 and that was a real boost for me because I have been in the doldrums with the putter recently,” said Longmuir.
“You only have to look at the stats to see how bad it has been, so last week it felt so good to start making putts and it has continued this week. I just feel so much more stable over the ball.
“It is an old putter that I used before and I just went back to it and started making them again. I have had it about six years – it was the putter that I used at Stapleford Park when I won round there with 20 under par so I have some great memories of it.
“It was just lying around the house and I thought I would have a go with it. It has been great the last three tournament rounds and I have been getting a great roll on the ball.
“It is a relief because I had been playing pretty well and just not making anything and that can be the most frustrating thing in this game: playing well and not scoring because you can’t make a putt.
“You never know tomorrow – hopefully I can get close to a 66 again and if I can do that then I will have a chance to win. It would be nice to get over the line because it has been a pretty dry period for me recently.”
Ralph, who played alongside his great friend Peter Mitchell (the man who will drive home in a Porsche Panamera thanks to his hole in one on the par three seventh during round two), continues to see and overall improvement in his game having spent the last 18 months coming to terms with the debilitating effects of diabetes.
“It was so much fun out there today playing with Mitch – we had a great laugh and then he got the hole in one so it was just one of those great days where you enjoy a very nice round of golf.
“There was a lot laughter and fun out there and we were encouraging each other all the way round. Mitch is always the kind of guy who helps you along and it was lovely.
“I played great too and it was really good to be striking the ball that well again and seeing a few putts go in.”
That four 66s of Price, Longmuir, Ralph and Farry were the most impressive scores of the day, but one man who did not take advantage of the improved conditions was home favourite Bernhard Langer.
The German legend had kept himself in contention on five under until he reached the recording area, where, before signing his second round score card, he learned that he had taken a wrong drop on his tenth hole (the par five first) and had to change his bogey six to a triple bogey eight.
That meant Langer fell back to three under – eight behind runaway leader Price.