Wright stays in contention with three birdies in a row

LEITH-BASED golfer Gareth Wright had the leaders in his sights heading into today’s third round of the £1.4 million Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles.

The 29-year-old followed his opening 70 with a battling 71 over the PGA Centenary Course in Perthshire to earn a share of 18th spot on three-under-par.

Wright, whose dad Ian is the pro at West Linton, started his second round at the tenth and looked to be wobbling after back-to-back bogeys at the 14th and 15th. But he bounced back with three successive birdies from the 16th then picked up another one at the long second to give himself plenty of breathing space over his final few holes.

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“I’m in a good position and now it’s a case of trying to push on from here,” said Wright, who has former Lothians Champion of Champions winner Scott Walker caddying for him. “I can’t afford to get too far ahead of myself but I’m pleased with the way I’m hitting the ball.

“A top-10 would be great and a top-5 even better as that would get me into next week’s European Masters in Switzerland.”

On three-under, Wright was a shot ahead of Stephen Gallacher at the halfway stage, with Braid Hills pro Paul McKechnie also making the cut on level-par.

Gallacher catapulted himself up the leaderboard with a second-round 68 using his ten-year-old son Jack’s pink-gripped putter.

“I was putting in the house one night with it and rolled it pretty good,” he said. “I then tried it on the course and it still felt good, so it was a case of ‘hard lines wee man!’”

David Drysdale fell one shot below the cut line on one-over, while Lloyd and Elliot Saltman also bowed out as they both finished on five-over.