Craig Lee and Paul O'Hara share lead in Tartan Pro Tour opener at Barassie Links
The 45-year-old shares the lead with Paul O’Hara heading into the third and final round of the Barassie Links Classic as overnight pacesetter Chris Doak missed the cut in the circuit’s first event of the season.
Lee, one of the oldest players in the field at Kilmarnock (Barassie), followed an opening 68 on the Ayrshire coast with a 67 to sit on nine-under-par, which was matched by O’Hara with opening efforts of 69-66.
The duo sit one shot ahead of three players who have already landed title triumphs on Paul Lawrie’s circuit - Danny Kay, Graeme Robertson and Joe Bryce - but all over just 36 holes.
In the tour’s first event over 54 holes, rookie pro Rory Franssen sits a shot further back, with host club honorary member Jack McDonald just three shots off the lead along with Rpry Smith, Kieran Cantley, Benjamin Bailey, Jamie Savage and Greig Hutcheon.
Lee, who will be teeing up in the Betfred British Masters, ISPS Handa World Invitational, Horizon Irish Open and BMW PGA Championship on the DP World Tour this season, signed for six birdies in his second circuit.
O’Hara, meanwhile, sparked his 66 with three birdies to start before following another one at the 11th with an eagle-3 at the 16th in a bogey-free effort.
In an event being presented by The MacKay Clinic, Doak had opened with a 67 but then followed it with a 78 to miss the cut by two shots as it fell at one-under.
Others to miss out included 2018 Open Silver Medal winner Sam Locke (one-over), last week’s Aberdeen Golf Links Pro-Am winner Sean Lawrie (four-over) and Lee’ Westwood’s son Sam (five-over).
Elsewhere, Calum Hill has been handed a mouth-watering draw in the opening two rounds of the DS Automobiles Italian Open, which starts at Marco Simone Golf Club on the outskirts of Rome on Thursday.
The Scot has been paired with European Ryder Cup captain Luke Donald and Edinburgh-based Frenchman Victor Perez as players bid to stake claims to be back at the same venue in September to take on the Americans.
Bob MacIntyre, who is the defending champion in the Italian capital after landing his second DP World Tour win on the same course last September, is in another of the marquee groups along with home player Guido Migliozzi and Dane Rasmus Hojgaard.
The event also marks the start of the DP World Tour’s US Open qualifying series, which will see the top two aggregate points earners from the the Italian Open, Soudal Open, KLM Open and Porsche European Open secure spots in the season’s third major at The Los Angeles Country Club from June 15-18.
Meanwhile, Jim Furyk has been announced as the US captain for next year’s Presidents Cup at Royal Montreal, where he will be up against an International side led by Canadian Mike Weir following his appointment in November.
Furyk, a losing Ryder Cup captain in France in 2018, is taking on the Presidents Cup role for the first time after serving as an assistant twice, first for Jay Haas in 2015 then Steve Stricker in 2017.
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