England’s Martin Poxon, who never managed a win during 18 years on The European Tour, is well placed to right that statistic on the European Seniors Tour after taking a share of the lead heading into the final round of The Gloria Classic at Gloria Golf Resort, Turkey.
The 51 year old from Sheffield carded a blemish-free six under par 66 during Saturday’s second round to join American Doug Johnson, who eagled the last for a 66 of his own, atop the leaderboard on eight under par 136.
The pair lead by one from former Senior Open Championship winner Pete Oakley of the United States (66), Delroy Cambridge of Jamaica (70) and Australian Stewart Ginn (70).
A stroke further back on six under par is a group that includes four players who between them have won 20 seniors titles – Terry Gale of Australia, Nick Job of England, José Rivero of Spain and two-time Order of Merit champion Sam Torrance of Scotland.
The powerful looking group is completed by European Tour veteran Ross Drummond, who is playing in his first season of seniors golf.
But for a change the limelight belonged to two players searching for their maiden breakthrough – Johnson and Poxon.
Johnson carded four birdies and an eagle in his 66 and said he was riding a wave of confidence after finishing runner-up to Gordon J Brand in the season-opening DGM Barbados Open in March.
“That result was everything, a real dream come true,” reflected the Floridian, who earned his card through the 2005 Qualifying School in Portugal.
“To get in contention out here is worth all the work you put in over all the years: all the homework; all the practice rounds; all the divots you have had to dig balls out of.
“I was lucky to get into contention five or six times on the US Champions Tour, but now I have found a home where I think I can have fun. This is a grand place for me. It is probably the friendliest Tour I have ever played. There is a lot of laughter between the players and I think people root for one another here.”
Another who will certainly have his supporters come Sunday is Poxon, whose best result to date came in 1992 when he was runner-up to Spaniard Miguel Angel Martin at the French Open.
“It’s all bunched up at the top of the leaderboard and I think there will be fireworks tomorrow. I played really well today – drove the ball straighter and hit some crisp irons – and I will sleep on it tonight.
“What I do know for certain is that I am going to have to be under par tomorrow. There are some great players here and no one is going to give it to you,” said Poxon after signing for a card that contained birdies at the fourth, seventh, ninth, tenth, 13th and 17th.
It promises to be a fascinating final day over the immaculate New Course at Gloria Golf Resort, as a total of 23 players are within five shots of the lead.
Torrance birdied two of the closing three holes for a second consecutive 69 that keeps him right in contention and whoever is to win on Sunday will require two things – a low round; and some strong arms to lift a spectacularly large winner’s vase that features sumptuous gold leaf patterns.