Johnnie Walker Championship: Home victory hopes alive

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WITH six Scots sitting in the top 20, hopes of a third home victory in seven years in the Johnnie Walker Championship are still alive heading into the weekend action in Perthshire.

While they’ve got a fair bit ground to make up on halfway leader Ricardo Gonzalez, Craig Lee, on eight-under, Paul Lawrie, Richie Ramsay, Chris Doak and Scott Henry, all on seven-under, and David Drysdale, six-under, are in the hunt for a £233,330 top prize.

Lee, lying 115th on the money-list and needing a strong finish to the season to retain his card, bagged eight birdies as he carded a five-under 67.

“In addition to this, I’ve got five more guaranteed starts coming up and hopefully I can use those to get over the line,” said the 36-year-old from Stirling after making the cut for only the second time in his last six events.

Lawrie, the defending champion, holed a bunker shot at the fourth on his way to a 67, which was a total contrast to his “struggle” in an opening 70.

“Today was the complete opposite,” he reported. “I played lovely, hitting a lot of good shots.

“I went to the range for an hour last night to try and slow my changeover as it had become both a little fast and little sleep.”

Ramsay described his round as the “easiest 68 of my life”.

The Aberdonian added: “I was bang in the middle of all but one fairway and hitting it down the target with my approach shots.

“If I can keep playing like that and also start holing some more putts, then I’ll be in with a chance of winning here.”

Henry, lying 139th in the Race to Dubai in his rookie season, started with four birdies and fed off the confidence from that to card a joint-best-of-the-week 65.

“I’ve not felt comfortable with my game this week, but that’s bit more like it,” said the 26-year-old from Clydebank. “I’d played ten tournaments in a row, which is a bit much. But, in my position, I feel like I can’t miss any.”

Drysdale, sitting 74th and needing to get into the top 60 to make the season-ending Dubai World Championship, carded a 67, one less than Stephen Gallacher, as he birdied the last two to move to five-under.

Tartan Tour player Neil Fenwick also made the cut after a splendid 66 that contained an eagle and five birdies.