England’s Peter Mitchell edged one step closer to winning his second European Seniors Tour title when he carded a fine five under par 67 to move into a slender one shot lead after the second round of the Scottish Seniors Open over the East course at Marriott Dalmahoy Hotel & Country Club near Edinburgh.
The 50 year old Seniors rookie from Kent, who won the Ryder Cup Wales Seniors Open on just his second Seniors Tour start in June, goes into the final round on six under par 138 and with a single shot advantage over Ireland’s Des Smyth who carded six birdies but also dropped five shots in an adventurous one under par 71.
Scotland’s Sam Torrance returned a three under par 69 to share third place with America’s Jerry Bruner and Spain’s Domingo Hospital on four under par 140 while two other Scots, Ross Drummond and Bill Longmuir are tied for sixth place with England’s Andrew Murray, Italy’s Costantino Rocca, New Zealand’s Simon Owen and Ireland’s Eamonn Darcy one shot further back.
Mitchell started the day in a tie for eighth place but moved into the lead with a best of the day 67 in which he went out in two under par 33 and then added further birdies at the tenth, 12th and 13th holes.
“It’s a good round but it could have been better because I missed a lot of chances as well,” said the Englishman.
“It’s no exaggeration to say that I could have had five birdies in the opening five holes but I missed three chances during that stretch and several others as well.”
Smyth also missed from three feet at the last with a putt that would have tied his English rival for the lead. Earlier he had dropped two shots after driving into the trees on the third and the 13th but admitted he was relatively happy with anything under par on a blustery day when good scoring was at a premium.
“It’s not as good as yesterday’s 68 but it’s not that bad either,” said the 55 year old from Drogheda.
“I hit the ball pretty well for most of the round but would like to think I won’t make quite so many mistakes tomorrow.”
Torrance has won two Scottish PGA titles at Dalmahoy and has a great chance of making it a hat-trick after a 69 in which he carded five birdies and two bogeys.
“I played beautifully,” said the former Ryder Cup Captain as he looks for his first win on this season’s Seniors Tour. “I’ve had a bit of success here in the past and I wouldn’t mind adding to that tomorrow.
“I’m not too far behind.”
Scotland’s Brian Marchbank opened his challenge for his national Seniors title with a creditable level par 72 which saw him finish the first round in a share of fourteenth place but then had to retire before hitting another shot suffering from tendonitis in his wrist.
“It’s a real shame,” said the former Walker Cup player from Perthshire who now acts as manager for a number of European Tour golfers including compatriots Alastair Forsyth, Stephen Gallacher, Dean Robertson and Marc Warren.
“I felt it happen when I picked up something a couple of weeks ago and it seemed to get worse over the last four or five holes yesterday.
“I went to the physio after the round but it’s still hurting and I’d have been daft to try to play today.”