Words by BGB Editorial
FIFE, Scotland: Adrian Otaegui needed a late birdie flourish to keep hold of the lead at the halfway stage of the Scottish Championship presented by AXA on Friday.
The 27-year-old Spaniard started the day three clear of the field but the margin had disappeared by the time he started his second round as Matthew Wallace posted a fine five-under 67 to set the clubhouse lead on 12-under.
Things could have been worse for Otaegui but for a run of three birdies in four holes from the fourth – his 13th – that moved him back into contention.
“I’m feeling good, I’m feeling happy about the round,” said Otaegui. ”I had to work hard at the beginning to save some pars, which I did OK.
“And then I played much better on the back nine so it’s been OK, it’s been a good day.
“I’m pleased because of the way I’ve been playing in the last two days, the way I’ve felt on the greens as well, even if today I didn’t hole as many putts as yesterday.
“Even when I struggled, the few shots I missed, I still fought to save par or try to save. There’s still a lot of golf to play from now to the end of the week so let’s go and enjoy.
Playing alongside Ryder Cup captain Padraig Harrington, Englishman Wallace put on a performance that will have sparked the attention of the skipper, trading six birdies with one bogey – at the par-four 13th – to move into prime position heading into the weekend.
“This is a nice start,” said the four-time Tour winner. ”I’m taking in some form over the last few weeks, just not really posting any numbers.
“Hopefully I can do that this week.”
England’s Aaron Rai shot a 67 to move into outright third one shot behind the leading duo on 11-under par and one clear of France’s Adrien Saddier who also carded 67.
KIRADECH MISSES HALFWAY CUT
Despite an improved showing, Kiradech Aphibarnrat fell one shot shy of the cut-line on level par. The big hitting Thai followed up an opening round 75 with a three-under par 69 but finished agonisingly short of booking a place for the weekend.