Scotland’s Martin Gray continued his dominance on the second day of the inaugural Azores Senior Open at Batalha Golf Club, where he leads England’s Nick Job by four shots.
The man from Fife will enter unchartered territory should he maintain his lead tomorrow, having never won a European Tour event since turning professional in 1972.
Gray shot his second consecutive round of 69 to lead the inaugural event from Job, who finished the day on two under par after also carding a 69.
A magical eagle on the par five 12th – a hole he also birdied yesterday – was the highlight of a sublime round, which was marred only by a three putt for bogey on the 18th green.
The 56 year old said: “It was a disappointing end to the round, because a five shot cushion would have been really nice. But overall I have to be pleased with 69 in the conditions, because the wind kept changing all the time, which really kept us on our toes.
“A four shot lead is obviously a healthy one – but if the wind’s blowing hard again, that can disappear in an instant. So I’m not going to get ahead of myself – I haven’t even thought about winning yet.
“I’ll just try to do the same things again tomorrow, and see where it gets me. Nerves certainly won’t come into it – I’m far too old for that. I’ve been in this position a fair few times before – hopefully this time, I can take advantage of it.”
Having dropped a shot on the par five fourth, Gray’s round really kicked into gear with a birdie on the ninth hole. Further birdies followed on the 10th and 11th, before that spectacular eagle on the 12th hole.
Gray said: “I hit a nice drive off an elevated tee, and left myself about 260 yards from the green. It was downhill with the wind behind me, so I cut a four wood nicely onto the green, and left myself a 20ft putt. I struck it nicely and knew it had a chance, so I was delighted to see it drop in. I’ve putted well all week, and if I can continue that tomorrow, I may have a chance.”
America’s Bob Boyd, Australia’s Stewart Ginn and Argentina’s Luis Carbonetti are in a tie for third place on one under par, whilst Domingo Hospital of Spain lies one shot further back on level par.