England’s Carl Mason made a big move towards winning his fifth title of the 2004 season when he carded a five under par 67 to move into a five shot lead after the second round of the ADT English Seniors Open at Formby Hall in Merseyside.
Mason began the day three shots off the pace and fell further behind when he took six at the first but he went on to produce seven birdies over the next 17 holes to go into the final round five shots clear of Bob Cameron, Bill Longmuir and Martin Gray on six under par 138.
Cameron, Longmuir and Gray are a further two shots ahead of a large group comprising John Chillas, Louis Carbonetti, Eamonn Darcy, Terry Gale, Bruce Heuchan, Craig Maltman, Ian Mosey and Steve Stull who finished the second round together on one over par 145.
Mason started his round in disastrous fashion by three-putting for a six on the 368-yard par-4 first but then bounced straight back with birdies at the 172-yard par-3 second and the 493 yard-par five third. He made a further birdie on the 393-yard par-4 eighth and then romped home with further advances on the tenth, 13th, 17th and 18th .
“I played beautifully out there today,” Mason admitted.
“I got a bit of a shock when I missed those putts on the first but the good news was that I was able to bounce straight back.
“It was one of those rare days when the game seems pretty easy,” he added. “I hit the ball well and holed some nice putts after that disaster on the first. “It sets me up nicely but it will still be tough because there are a lot of good players bunched up not far behind me.”
Gray started the day with a one shot lead over Steve Stull and Bill Longmuir but dropped shots at the first, second and fifth before fighting back to post a 75. Stull slumped to a 76 but Longmuir recovered from two double bogeys in his first five holes to card a 74 that leaves him with a great chance to overtake Japan’s Seiji Ebihara and earn a place on Europe’s UBS Cup team to face the Americans in November.
Longmuir went into this week’s event some 8,000 euros behind Ebihara on the Order of Merit but can overhaul that deficit if he maintains the six shot advantage he holds over the Japanese golfer.
“I have to be honest, I didn’t play very well today,” said the Essex-based Scot. “But I hung in there and Seiji did me a favour by shooting 78. As far as I can see, the last UBS Cup place is going to go right down to the wire.”
England’s John Morgan leads the race for the Hardys Wines Super Seniors prize awarded to the leading competitor aged 60 or over.
The 61 year-old from West Kirby carded a one over par round of 73 to go into the final round three shots ahead of Canada’s Bill Hardwick on four over par 148.