The De Vere Collection PGA Seniors Championship - Round Two (Getty Images)
Paraguay’s Angel Franco has a one stroke lead over former Ryder Cup player Gordon Brand Jnr and South African Christopher Williams at the halfway mark of The De Vere Collection PGA Seniors Championship.
The 51 year old South American, who is chasing his first European Senior Tour victory after finishing runner up three times, posted a level par second round 72 to consolidate his overnight position at the top of the leaderboard.
Scotsman Brand Jnr, who began the day level with Franco on three under par, was affected by a two hour 38 minute delay in afternoon play due to fog at De Vere Slaley Hall.
When play eventually restarted he struggled to re-establish his rhythm, trading bogeys and birdies before a remarkable finish on the 18th hole saw him sign for a 73 to finish two under par.
The 50 year old, runner up to Gordon J Brand last year after an epic six hole play-off, had to take a drop after finding the trees with his drive then left his approach well short of the green. He was heading for a double bogey finish after another poor shot but a marvellous 20ft putt meant he salvaged a bogey five and ended a long day on a relative high.
“It was an adventurous finish I would say,” said Brand Jnr. “I struggled at the beginning and made some good saves and felt really good. Then I started to play well and then the delay came. I struggled after that. I was going all over the place, making errors.
“On the 18th I hit the road and went behind a tree so I came backwards so at the end of the day I was very pleased with a 73. It was just adventurous. A playable golf course became wet and long. I really hung in there today.
“It was difficult with the delay. I was into my round and it was just starting to play ok and then you come back out and you need some good shots to settle you down. I didn’t do that. I was up and down. I got it round in 73 and I’m in a good position going into the weekend.”
Likewise Franco was satisfied with his return despite looking at one point as if he was going to open up a sizeable lead after an eagle on the 12th, in addition to three birdies and two bogeys, helped him reach the turn three under par.
However on the trickier front nine at De Vere Slaley Hall’s Hunting Course, he dropped shots on the second, sixth and the ninth holes to remain at three under par for the championship following his opening round 69.
“It was a different day and different conditions,” he said. “The rain and wind make it difficult but I’m still really happy about my round today.
“Tomorrow is when it starts getting serious. The position I’m in today is not important – it is the position I’m in on Saturday and Sunday that matters. I’m focussed on that.”
Williams carded a round of 70 moved to move to two under par, after three birdies and one bogey.
Scotland’s John Chillas and Northern Ireland’s Jimmy Heggarty are a further shot back on one under par after rounds of 69 – the lowest of the day . They are joined on 143 by American Bob Boyd, and English pair Carl Mason and Kevin Spurgeon.
Ian Woosnam is seven shots of the pace after a 75 while fellow former Ryder Cup Captain Sam Torrance retired after the sixth hole of his round with a thumb injury.