Peter Fowler will take a two-shot lead into the final round of the Scottish Senior Open after an impressive five under par round of 66 at Craigielaw Golf Club.
The Australian, who won the 2018 Willow Senior Golf Classic 12 months ago, battled blustery conditions at the East Lothian links to card the low round of the week, ending day two at the top of the leaderboard on four under par with a two stroke advantage over home favourite Paul Lawrie.
After starting his opening round with a triple bogey seven at the first hole, Fowler began his second round on the tenth tee and made bogey but bounced back at the next hole with his first birdie of the day.
With the wind testing the players’ club selection and yardage, the six-time Staysure Tour winner carded seven consecutive pars to reach the turn at level par for the day, before beginning his assault on the front nine – his back.
Back-to-back birdies ahead of a dropped shot and two further gains ensured he soared up the leaderboard. With day two’s early leaders struggling in the conditions and falling away, Fowler picked up birdies on his closing two holes to card a back nine of 30 and set the clubhouse target at four under par.
“I’m really happy with that round,” said Fowler. “It’s not a long golf course but it’s treacherous on the greens with wind we had today, so I’m really happy with that score.
“It’s one of my best rounds. It was very difficult around the greens and trying to stay balanced through the shots. I can hit the ball low. In Australia on our costal courses the wind is blowing all the time. It’s about getting your shot selection correct and judging the strength of the wind. Once you get the ball rising in the wind, it’s really difficult.
“I wasn’t putting well until the last nine holes and then I putted pretty well. I had a 15-footer straight up the hill on the last, so that was in my favour rather than a downhill putt with a lot of wind blowing from the side because the ball won’t stop if you’re on a side slope.
“My game has got used to playing in windy conditions and the wind looks like it’s coming from the same direction tomorrow with a similar strength. We all know what to expect and hopefully the showers stay away.”
Major Champion Lawrie, who was finishing later in the afternoon, could not reach the Australian’s target, as he added a round of 72, one over par, to his opening round of 68. The Scotsman sits one stroke ahead of 2016 Scottish Senior Open winner Paul Eales, following his one under par round of 70, who is joined at one under par by Markus Brier of Austria.
The final round will get under way at 8:40am local time with Fowler teeing off his title challenge at 10:00am.