The overnight leader on seven under par, Fowler birdied the fourth and sixth holes and then recovered from consecutive bogeys with another gain on the ninth, making the turn eight under par. The 58 year old then carded five birdies on the back nine, signing for a six under par round of 66 and a 13 under par total, matching Wiratchant. The pair are three strokes ahead of Ireland’s Mark McNulty.
Fowler won the John Jacobs Trophy for finishing at the top of the Senior Tour Order of Merit in 2011, and if he secures his first victory of the season, he may find himself at the top of the rankings once again.
Current Order of Merit leader Clark Dennis must finish at least outright eighth and Chris Williams must finish outright second to deny Fowler the John Jacobs Trophy, should the Australian win the MCB Tour Championship.
“I played similarly to yesterday,” said Fowler. “I had a couple of hiccups, but then found my rhythm and had a solid back nine. They were sloppy bogeys but I was still hitting the ball well.
“Playing with Mark McNulty, he’s a pretty smooth player so it was easy to get my rhythm back.
“Mark loves these greens, he’s up there with a chance, and Wiratchant is a magician on courses like these. He has played on these his whole life, it’s no surprise they are where they are on the leaderboard.
“People in Europe won’t really know who he is, but I’ve known him for 30 years. I’ve played with him a lot, I know what he’s like and he’s majestic when he gets it going.
“I know I have to play well to win tomorrow. Winning is what it’s all about, if you win it acknowledges the hard work you’ve done off the course.”
Wiratchant, a two-time Asian Tour Number One, carded eight birdies and one bogey, signing for a second round of 65 which included five consecutive gains from the ninth to 13th holes.
“Today was perfect,” said Wiratchant. “I’m very happy. I’m feeling really good, the conditions here are almost the same as in Thailand, so I feel comfortable. It would mean a lot to me to win in my first year on the Senior Tour.”
McNulty carded a four under par round of 68, and is currently third on ten under par, two strokes ahead of Spain’s Miguel Angel Martín.
Williams, second on the Order of Merit, shares fifth place on six under par with Magnus P Atlevi and André Bossert. If the South African finishes solo second, and Dennis finishes lower than fifth, he would win the Order of Merit. Dennis is just one stroke back, one of six golfers on five under par.
|T3||MARTIN, Miguel Angel||ESP||18||-11|