England’s Carl Mason returned to his accustomed position at the top of the leaderboard when he took a share of the lead in the Nigel Mansell Sunseeker International Classic.
Mason, last year’s European Seniors Tour Order of Merit number one and a two time winner this season, put his back problems of the past three weeks behind him by firing a second round four under par 68 at the Nigel Mansell owned Woodbury Park.
He leads the tournament on seven under par along with American David Oakley and Japan’s Seiji Ebihara. First round leader Oakley returned a 70 while Ebihara came in with a 67.
England’s Tommy Horton, the Senior Tour’s most decorated player with a record five Order of Merit titles, moved into contention with a 69 and is one stroke off the lead along with Japan’s Dragon Taki.
Tournament host and Nigel Mansell shot a 79 to lie at six over par. He had broken par in his previous two competitive rounds but the pressure of organizing his own event caught up with him.
Mason withdrew in the final round of The Mobile Cup three weeks ago because of a back injury which consequently led to him skipping the next event and finishing equal 26th last week in Wales. However, he was his familiar self today and produced a brilliant finish to move into pole position heading into the final round.
He birdied the 14th, eagled the 16th and birdied 17.
“It’s a great feeling to play like that again after a difficult few weeks. I have been really disappointed with how things have gone but hopefully I can put that behind me. There is still one round to go though,” said Mason.
The Englishman is currently in second place on the Order of Merit having won the season opening Tobago Plantations Seniors Classic and the AIB Irish Seniors Open.
Oakley, the runner up in last week’s Ryder Cup Wales Seniors Open, dropped a shot on the final hole to fall back into a tie. It was his only dropped shot of the day.
Many will be watching how Jersey-based Horton performs on Sunday. The 63 year old has not won since 2000 in Barbados and will be a popular winner if he manages to win his 24th title on the Seniors Tour.
Horton was four under after eight, stumbled with bogies on 9, 12 and 13 before birdieing the 14th and 17th.
Defending champion Mike Miller from Scotland shot a 71 and is two off the pace.
Australian Bob Shearer, who started the day in a tie with Oakley, carded a 72.