Christy O'Connor Jnr shot a best of the week 69, three under par, to move to just four shots of the leader David Oakley at the halfway stage in the Senior British Open, presented by MasterCard, at Royal Portrush today.
The Irishman, who won his first senior title in America earlier this month, started the day on four over par but fought his way right back into contention with birdies on the first three holes. Another birdie followed at the par three sixth and although he bogeyed the next, another birdie four on the ninth put him at level par.
The former Ryder Cup player made a two at the 166-yards 11th to move under par for the first time this week but he fell back to level with his second bogey of the day two holes later. Another dropped shot at his bogey hole the 15th, where he took a seven yesterday, left him in the group on one over par but very much in the thick of things.
"My first concern tomorrow is to get rid of that one over," said O'Connor Jnr. "Hopefully I can get rid of that early on in the round and if I do - watch out."
American David Oakley holds the lead at three under after a second round of 71, to lie two shots ahead of Australian Stewart Ginn.
"I've been playing well for the last few months so I'm not surprised to be leading," said the 54-year-old former furniture store manager. "At least not as surprised as others might be."
Ginn, playing only his second European Seniors Tour event after turning 50 last month, shot a round of 71. A European Tour winner in 1974, Ginn now plays his golf in Japan. He birdied the seventh and ninth holes at the Dunluce links for an outward half of 34, two under par. And after slipping with three bogeys on the back nine recovered to birdie the last two holes to stay firmly in contention.
South Africa's John Bland, beaten in a play-off here by Gary Player two years ago when he last played the event, is poised at level par while the defending champion Brian Huggett picked up three birdies in an outward half of 34 on his way to a 73 to finish three over.
Ther cut fell at 11 over par. 63 professionals and three amateurs successfully qualified for the weekend.3rd Round Draw