After a difficult first half of the year on the Seniors circuit in the US, where his travails on the greens have cost him dear, Scotland’s Bill Longmuir rediscovered his putting stroke to share the lead with England’s Nick Job and Spain’s Juan Quiros at the Bad Ragaz PGA Seniors Open in Switzerland.
Longmuir had 27 putts in his second round of eight under par 62 – seven fewer than on day one – and will now go into Sunday’s final round at Golf Club Bad Ragaz tied at the top with Job (64) and Quiros (61) on nine under par 131.
The trio are two shots ahead of England’s Carl Mason (67) and overnight co-leader John Bland (68) of South Africa, who are both on seven under par.
Longmuir, who mixed eight birdies with 10 pars for his 62, said: “That is the first time I have walked off the course this year and been happy with my score. For some reason I started holing some putts and that made such a difference to everything: it changed my body language and improved my ball striking. It had such a big effect.”
The US-based Scot, who is chasing his sixth victory on the European Seniors Tour, gained his card to the 2006 US Champions Tour with an impressive series of performances at last year’s Qualifying School in California.
So far he has failed to replicate that form in competition this season, due in the main to the putting problems which have seen him average 31 putts a round: a return that leaves him languishing in 84th place on the US Champions Tour Putting Stats.
However, some recent sessions with Birmingham-based putting coach Paul Hurring have given Longmuir a much-needed lift and he produced his best putting display of the year on some difficult greens at Bad Ragaz Golf Club, where heavy rain has fallen over the past few days.
Quiros, a consistent presence on leaderboards since turning 50 in February, also impressed on the greens, requiring just 24 putts in his round of nine under par 61, the best score of the day.
The Spaniard started as he meant to carry on with birdies at the opening two holes. He would go on to pick up further shots at the fourth, fifth, eighth, tenth, 13th, 14th, 16th and 18th holes, with his only error coming at the short 11th where he pulled his tee shot left of the green and failed to get up and down.
“I am very happy with my golf,” announced Quiros, who is on course for his third top five finish in seven events. “I am playing well in general and today my putting was very, very good.”
Another man delighted with his day’s work was Job, despite dropping a shot at the last for a 64. The highlight of his round was a four iron approach to within five feet of the pin to set up an eagle at the 16th.
John Chillas of Scotland (67), José Rivero of Spain (67), David J Russell of England (66) and American Peter Teravainen (64) share sixth place on six under par – three behind the leaders.
Horacio Carbonetti of Argentina (67), winner of this tournament in 2003 and 2004, is a shot further back on five under par alongside overnight co-leader Stewart Ginn of Australia (70) and South African Bertus Smit (70).