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Wiesberger surges into share of Scotland lead

Wiesberger surges into share of Scotland lead

Bernd Wiesberger fired the lowest round of his European Tour career to sit in a three way tie for the lead heading into the weekend at the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open.

Bernd Wiesberger

The Austrian finished in a tie for second at last week's Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and continued his brilliant Rolex Series form with a 61 to sit at 14 under alongside England's Lee Slattery and South African Erik van Rooyen.

Major Champion Henrik Stenson was bogey free through 36 holes to sit just two shots off the lead alongside Italian Nino Bertasio, as kind conditions resulted in another day of very low scoring at The Renaissance Club.

Italian duo Lorenzo Gagli and Guido Migliozzi, Spaniard Adrian Otaegui, Finn Kalle Samooja and former World Number One Justin Thomas were at 11 under.

Wiesberger returned to action this season after being out for seven months with a wrist injury but has not missed a beat, claiming a fifth European Tour title at the Made in Denmark presented by FREJA.

"It's been tough the last year," he said. "Coming off injury, it's been hard but winning in Denmark a couple of weeks ago is a big boost to me.

"I really enjoy my time out on the golf course again, maybe take it not as seriously as I've done before and let it go and that really helped me, just feeding off rounds like this today.

"I hadn't shot ten under in a professional event yet, so that was a nice bonus. It's just going with the flow and things worked out very well today. I'm not thinking too much and just keep doing what I'm doing."

Van Rooyen is looking for a first European Tour victory after finishing second twice this season, while Slattery has made just five of 15 cuts on the 2019 Race to Dubai but has two career European Tour titles to his name.

Bradley Dredge won a BMW G07 X7 xDrive40i M Sport with a hole-in-one on the 17th, while fellow Welshman Stuart Manley took the ace total to four for the week and 20 for the season at the 15th.

Slattery started the day one shot off the lead but became the first man into double figures when he followed birdies at the first and fourth with another from eight feet at the seventh.

Van Rooyen joined him as he sandwiched a bogey on the 13th with gains on the tenth, 12th, 14th and 16th but Slattery made back to back birdies after the turn to lead by two.

Van Rooyen trimmed the lead at the first before Slattery made it a hat-trick from the fringe on the 12th, but Van Rooyen left himself a three footer on the fourth and holed a long putt on the fifth to tie it up again.

Slattery then took advantage of the par five 16th and Van Rooyen holed an eight footer on the eighth as both men made it a 64-64 start.

After an opening 67, Wiesberger followed Van Rooyen in making birdies on the tenth, 12th, 14th and 16th with a bogey on the 13th, but he added a gain on the 18th to turn in 32.

He was still well back when he picked up another shot on the first but he finished his round with five consecutive birdies.

After a nice tee shot at the fifth, he left himself a tap-in at the sixth and took advantage of the par five seventh before a five foot putt on the eighth and a tee shot to six feet on the ninth put him in a share of the lead.

Stenson made gains on the first, fourth, fifth, eighth, 13th and 16th in a second consecutive 65 but could have gone lower as he missed good chances on the seventh, 12th, 14th, 15th and 17th.

"I'm pleased with the way I've played," he said. "A lot of good tee shots, a lot of good approaches and solid putting on the greens, even though I let one or two good chances slip by here on the back nine. I'm still pleased where I'm positioned after two rounds."

Bertasio turned in 34 as he sandwiched birdies on the first and sixth with a bogey on the fourth and further gains at the 11th, 14th, 15th and 16th had him within one before he dropped a shot on the last.

Gagli was bogey free in a 63, with Thomas taking just one more shot as he dropped a single stroke in his round.

Otaegui matched Thomas' 64 as he fought back from being three over after four holes on day one, while Migliozzi carded a 65 and Samooja a 67.

Reigning champion Brandon Stone and Ryder Cup stars Matthew Fitzpatrick, Edoardo Molinari, Thomas Pieters and Ian Poulter were in a group of nine players at ten under, as the cut fell at five under - matching the lowest of the season so far.