9am Round-Up: Graham Fox steps up PGA Pros’ title bid

Graham Fox tees off at the 10th in his second round at The Oxfordshire. Picture: Getty Images

Graham Fox tees off at the 10th in his second round at The Oxfordshire. Picture: Getty Images

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As first-round leader Andy Raitt toiled on day two of the Titleist & FootJoy PGA Professional Championship at The Oxfordshire, Graham Fox had his feet up watching the latest Jason Bourne film at the cinema.

The Scot had done his work in the morning with a polished 68 that leaves him two strokes behind leader David Higgins from Ireland’s Waterville Links who is nine under for the £78,000 tournament following a 66.

Raitt, who had equalled the course record with a 63 in the first round, saw his hopes of retaining the lead, evaporate on the back of disastrous eight on the par-4 ninth.

There were no such scares for Clydeway Golf’s Fox, who carded five birdies on a course that he rates highly.

“It is just straight shooting golf, there are plenty of chances if you hit it straight,” he said.

“The greens are quite soft and you need to be good off the tee. I’ve played it before at Q-school – I like the stadium feel of the course.

“I much prefer playing a course that you can see in front of you. I grew up playing on links and sometimes you can get punished when you hit a good shot but this is all in front of you.”

Fox is busy both at home and at work, juggling coaching while looking after his two kids. But he also still loves playing and ensures he finds the time to keep his game up to scratch.

“I’m practising less, doing a lot of teaching and looking after my two kids,” he added. “It’s nice, it’s all about time management. If I want to get up and practise I do it at the back end of six in the morning.

“And the thing is you have to practise when you are playing against the likes of Greig Hutcheon and all those guys.”

Fox is in sole possession of second place to spearhead a Scottish challenge which sees Greig Hutcheon (Paul Lawrie Golf Centre) and Graeme Brown (Montrose Links) among a group at four under.

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A posse of Scots are sitting close to the lead after the opening round of the PGA EuroPro Tour’s Lookers Championship at Close House.

English duo Robert Watson and Adam Hodkinson, along with Welshman Richard James, share the lead on four-under-par after carding 67s on the Colt Course at the venue just outside Newcastle.

But the eight players breathing down their necks include Louis Gaughan (Bathgate), Kris Nicol (Paul Lawrie Golf Centre), John Henry (Clydebank and District), Wallace Booth (Eastwood), James Steven (Clydeway Golf) and Fraser McKenna (Balmore).

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Craig Lawrie heads into the final day of the Farmfoods British Par 3 Championship sitting just outside the top 10 at Nailcote Hall.

Welshman Mark Mouland set a hot pace as he posted a 10-under-par 44 to sit two shots clear of Richard O’Hanlon, with Philip Golding a further two strokes back in third.

Lawrie’s one-under 53 left him alongside newly-crowned Senior Open champion Paul Broadhurst and European Tour duo Tommy Fleetwood and Lee Slattery in joint-12th.

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