Graham Fox steers Scots into lead in Turkey

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Graham Fox took route 66 to steer defending champions into the halfway lead in the PGAs of Europe International Team Championship in Turkey.

The Clydeway Golf player’s second-under-par second round at Gloria Golf Club was backed up by a two-under 70 from West Linton club pro Gareth Wright.

Those efforts moved the Tartan Tour trio from five shots off the pace at the start of the day into a one-shot lead over Ireland.

Last year, Fox negotiated three rounds of the New Course at the Belek resort in 16-under-par.

Now the former Scottish PGA champion is being similarly uncharitable to its elder sibling, having negotiated the 36 holes so far in nine-under to put the Scots on

course to retain the trophy.

“The course suits my game,” said Fox after signing for eight birdies. “It’s tight and even if you drive the ball well you can still be blocked out. It definitely rewards the good shots.

“The Old Course is much tougher than the New one but, as was the case last year, it’s in brilliant condition.”

Twelve months ago, the same Scottish trio of Fox, Wright and Eastwood’s David Orr turned the event into a procession and ended the tournament 10 shots clear of Ireland.

It doesn’t look as though they are going to get it all their own way on this occasion, though, with both Ireland and England, third on six-under, breathing down their necks with two rounds to go.

The format in which the best two scores from three count means fortunes and the lead can change hands with bewildering rapidity.

“We’re halfway there but things can change very quickly in tournaments like this,” observed Fox.

Turkey remain on course to be the inaugural winners of the International Shield, the competition for teams representing a PGA with 100 members or fewer.

They occupy eighth position at the halfway stage on two-over, six strokes clear of Poland.

Elsewhere, Pamela Pretswell is the leading Scot after the opening round of the Omega Dubai Ladies Masters at the Emirates Golf Club.

The Hamiton woman, who is on course to be the top Scottish player on the LET this season, posted a level-par 72 to sit six shots off the lead in joint-33rd.

As England’s Liz Young and Spaniard Carmen Alonso set the pace with six-under 66s, Sally Watson, Kelsey Macdonald and Carly Booth, who birdied her last three holes, all signed for 73s.

Fighting to hang on to her card for next season, Vikki Laing opened with a 74 while Kylie Walker was obviously suffering a hangover from her LPGA Qualifying School disappointment last weekend as she slumped to a 79.