Sam Torrance and Carl Mason both carded two under par rounds of 70 to maintain their lead after the second round of the De Vere PGA Seniors Championship at De Vere Carden Park. But the Scot and his English rival were caught by both Nick Job and Bill Longmuir who carded 67 and 69 respectively to move into a four-way tie for first place on eight under par 136.
Torrance and Mason opened the championship with six under par rounds of 66 but 24 hours later struggled to come to terms with swirling wind and intermittent rain.
“The wind made it at least two or three shots tougher out there today,” said Torrance who carded five birdies and three bogeys in the difficult conditions.
“I wanted to birdie one of the last three holes to get myself in front but it wasn’t to be.
“I missed a couple of chances but I’m still delighted with my position going into the weekend.”
Mason’s had both the wind and a niggling back injury to contend with during a second round in which got to ten under par after 28 holes before dropping a couple of shots coming home.
He got off to a great start with birdies on the 363 yard third, the 522 yard fifth, the 398 yard eighth and the 526 yard tenth but a further birdie at the 15th was cancelled out by dropped shots at the 14th, 16th and 17th.
“I hit a lot of good shots but two bad swings cost me dear,” said the Englishman who headed the Seniors Tour Order of Merit in 2003 and 2004 and is leading it again this year.
“I topped a three-wood at the par five 14 which cost me a shot and then I hit a terrible eight iron into the water at the 17th but they were just about the only mistakes I made. “I did dump my second shot into the greenside bunker on the 16th but that was more down to the wind than to a poor strike. In fact I thought I had hit it really well.”
“Now I need to go and rest,” he added. “My back isn’t great but I’ve got almost 24 hours to recover so it should be all right.”
Job recorded a magnificent five under par 67 that included no less than seven birdies.
The Englishman opened with a four on the 507 yard par five first. He dropped a shot at the third where he pushed his nine iron approach right of the green but then birdied the fourth and the eighth to go out in two under par 34.
Job’s back nine proved to be even more fruitful. He dropped a shot at the 13th but birdies at the tenth, 12th, 14th and 17th saw him jump up from a share of 12th place into the four-way tie for the lead.
“This is the first time for ages that I have actually felt confident on the greens,” said the 56 year old from Thames Ditton. “An old friend of mine called Gary Talbot gave me a putting lesson after watching me at the Seniors British Open and it seems to have done the trick because I holed a lot of putts today.
“The best one was probably the 20-footer I holed at the 17th but there were a few others that put a smile on my face as well.”
Longmuir has been troubled by a chest infection for over a month but he put that behind him with a fine 69 in which he got off to a great start with birdies at the second, third and fifth but then found the going a bit more difficult once the wind began to rise. In the end three further birdies on the 10th, 12th and 14th were cancelled out with bogeys on the ninth, 13th and 16th and he was delighted to post a 69 to add to his opening 67.
“The wind was swirling like mad out there,” said the 2003 De Vere PGA Seniors champion. “It made club selection very difficult so anything under par has got to be seen as a pretty good score.
“I like it here,” he added. “I’ve got lots of warm memories of my win in 2003 and I’d like to think I will be back in the mix come Sunday.”
The best round of the day came from England’s D.J. Russell who added a six under par 66 to his opening 71 to move in fifth place on his own on seven under par 137.
The former European Tour star was two under par for his opening nine holes after birdies on the 373 yard par four seventh and the 398 yard par four eighth and then finished in style with birdies on the 14th, 15th, 16th and 17th.
“I’m in a great place to challenge at the weekend,” said the Englishman who is the Director of Golf at Archerfield Links near Muirfield. “Sam got the better of me a couple of months ago at the Irvine Whitlock event in Jersey so I’d like nothing better than to get my own back here.
“But it’s not just Sam I’ve got to contend with. There are a lot of good players at the top of the leaderboard so it’s going to take two good rounds to win.”
John Chillas and John Morgan shared sixth place on 138 after carding rounds of 71 while Terry Gale and Martin Gray are tied ninth one shot from behind.
At the other end of the leaderboard the cut came at four over par 148 with 60 golfers making it through to the weekend. Denis O’Sullivan, Liam Higgins, Brian Jones, Mike Miller, Bob Shearer and Peter Townsend were among the former European Seniors Tour winners to miss out.