Scots well off pace but Lane pledges to add dash of tartan

THE prospect of the Cleveland Srixon Scottish Senior Open producing a home winner receded yesterday at the windswept Fairmont Links outside St Andrews.

An Australian, an Englishman and an American holidaymaker occupy the top three places on the leaderboard of the £250,000 event.

But joint leader Barry Lane has promised to introduce some local flavour to the third and final round today after revealing that he will wear a pair of specially designed tartan trousers as he bids to make a successful defence of the title.

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Londoner Lane continued his love affair with the Home of Golf when he posted a 69 to share top spot with Fowler, whose bogey at the last proved costly.

“I feel very much at home in Scotland and links golf suits my game,” Lane said. “I won the Scottish Open, finished second at Gleneagles once, and did well last month at Castle Stuart.

“The conditions were very tricky and I played a loose tee shot at the 15th and lost my ball, but I am one better than I was at the identical stage last year.”

Fowler said: “It was a tough finish with the bogey but I am in a good position overall and it would be great to win my third tournament of the year at the Home of Golf.”

NBC commentator Gary Koch, meanwhile, carded a second round 68 to move to seven-under, one off the pace, and then revealed: “I came across last week with some friends and we played Castle Stuart, the Carnegie Club at Dornoch and the Old Course before arriving here.

“I have to do five telecasts over the next six weeks at the FedEx Cup and the US Amateur so I fancied a break first and it’s always good to come to Scotland to play golf.

“Any time you complete a round bogey free feels satisfying and I managed to keep the momentum going in difficult conditions.”

Paisley’s Ross Drummond and Edinburgh’s Andrew Oldcorn lead the home challenge in a share of 11th, six off the pace.

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Oldcorn, currently third on the money-list, reflected: “I played beautifully from tee to green today but putted terribly. It is hard to describe how bad I was on the greens at times, which is obviously frustrating.

“It’s hard to describe some times. You are playing lovely golf and then just can’t get the ball in the hole. I should certainly be there or four shots better.”

Two-time major champion Sandy Lyle was again driven to distraction after launching his second round with a double bogey six.

The 53-year-old former Open champion bemoaned the fact that he managed only two birdies in 27 holes and described his performance as “pretty scrappy”.

“I can’t seem to see any daylight at the moment,” he said.

“There was some pretty scrappy stuff out there, but the double bogey at the first didn’t help get the competitive juices flowing, but I will just need to play my way through this spell.”

However, Lyle saw a small shaft of light at the end of the tunnel when he closed with an eagle three after landing his second shot, a rescue club from 250 yards, two feet from the pin to card 76 and finish six-over-par for the championship.

Compatriot Sam Torrance matched Lyle’s effort but is slightly better placed at four-over on the course the former Ryder Cup captain designed a decade ago.

Gordon Brand junior, who hails from nearby Kirkcaldy, failed to build on his first-round 71 when he took four shots more to slip to two-over, one behind fellow Scots Bill Longmuir and Peter Smith, who posted scores of 75 and 74 respectively.