Northern Ireland’s David Jones holds a one shot lead heading into the final round of The Scotsman Seniors Open at Dalmahoy.
Jones, 53, from Bangor, playing in only his ninth Seniors event this season, returned a second round of seven under par 65 to claw four shots back on first round leader, Australia’s Trevor Downing, and goes into the closing 18 holes one shot ahead of his Australian rival and two shots clear of England’s Malcolm Gregson.
Gregson, a former Ryder Cup international who finished No.1 on the European Tour money list in 1967, had identical nines of 33 to finish with a six under par 66, for a nine under par total of 135, with Australia’s Terry Gale, America’s Jeff Van Wagenen and England’s John Hudson all sharing fourth place on 138.
Jones, winner of last year’s Jersey Seniors Open, is something of a Dalmahoy course specialist, having lost to David Huish in a play-off in 1998 and then finished tied for fifth last year, three shots behind winner, Neil Coles, but he remains far from confident after not taking all his chances in the second round.
“It sounds strange, but if ever there was such a thing as a bad 65, that was it,” the Ulsterman said after returning his card.
“For a while, I was thinking 62 or 63 but, in the end, my lack of competitive practice let me down.”
Scotland’s Bill Lockie was another competitor ruing his misfortune after recording his best ever round on the Seniors Tour.
The Ayrshireman ending up making his first cut of the 2000 European Seniors Tour season when he signed for a 68 for a five under par total of 139 but, in actual fact, he would have been one shot better off had he spotted an error on his card prior to signing it.
The former Scottish Boy’s champion hit 67 shots during his round but did not notice that his marker, America’s Jerry Bruner, had erroneously marked him down for a par-4 rather than a birdie-3 on the 6th hole and, under the rules, having signed for a 68, the higher score had to stand.
“I can’t believe what I’ve done,” he said. “I looked at the card twice but I didn’t spot the mistake.
“I suppose I must have been a little bit excited after having such a good round but that’s still no excuse for what I’ve done,” he added. “Golf’s a hard enough game without signing for one shot more than you scored. It’s stupid. Bit it didn’t register at all.”
Under the rules, Lockie would have been disqualified had the situation been reversed and he had signed for a score one less than he recorded.
After two days of exceptional scoring, the cut fell at one over par 145 and among those to miss out were last week’s winner John Grace, England’s Denis Durnian and Japan’s Seiji Ebihara, who went into the Dalmahoy event lying fourth on the Seniors Tour money list.
Scotland’s Jim Farmer, Gordon Brown, Don McCart, Sandy Walker and Gordon MacDonald also all missed the cut although there was better news for struggling Bernard Gallacher, the former Ryder Cup captain, who has missed three cuts this season, but returned a two under par 70 to stand at 142.
The leading Scots were David Huish and the aforementioned Lockie at five under par, with John McTear one shot further back.