LOTHIANS caddie Dave Renwick is hoping to achieve a notable first at Gleneagles this weekend in the company of Argentinian ace Ricardo Gonzalez.
Renwick, who hails from East Calder, has helped players win titles, including four majors, all around the world – except Scotland.
But, at the halfway stage in the Johnnie Walker Championship, he’s got the right yardage to be a winner on home soil at long last.
It follows Gonzalez, his current employer, grabbing the halfway lead in the £1.4 million event after a second successive seven-under 65 at Gleneagles.
The 43-year-old is one in front of Austrian Bernd Wiesberger, with English duo Mark Foster and Tommy Fleetwood two shots further back in joint third.
“There’s no doubt that he’s got the game to go on and win here,” insisted Renwick after watching his man finish with a flurry of five birdies. I’ve been on his bag since Dubai last year and his putting has improved in that time as well as his scrambling. He’s a top bloke as well as a very good golfer and there will be a lot of guys here hoping he does go on and win.”
Renwick caddied for Jose Maria Olazabal and Vijay Singh (twice) when they won The Masters. He was also on Aussie ace Steve Elkington’s bag when he won the USPGA Championship. But he admitted there is one major gap on his CV – a win in his homeland.
“I’ve had victories in England, Ireland and Wales – but I don’t think I’ve had one yet in Scotland,” he said.
Four Lothians-based players – Richie Ramsay, Stephen Gallacher, Neil Fenwick and Gareth Wright – are also still involved in the weekend action in Perthshire.
Ramsay is alongside defending champion Paul Lawrie as well as Chris Doak and Scott Henry on seven-under – one behind leading Scot Craig Lee.
And, playing in the same group as Wiesberger, Gallacher birdied his final two holes in a 68 for a five-under-par total of 139.
“It could have been a 63,” declared the Dubai Desert Classic champion. “Because of my sore back, which was as bad today, I’m playing within myself.
“But it’s good to know there’s that bit extra in there when you are sitting on five-under.”
Fenwick and Wright both birdied their final holes late in the day to make the cut on three-under.
In Fenwick’s case, his 2 at the tenth was for a superb six-under 66 – just one outside the best round of the week so far.
“I knew I needed a birdie to make the cut, hit a seven-iron to about 15 feet and knocked the putt right in the middle,” beamed the Edinburgh man.
Earlier he’d holed a wedge from 90 yards for an eagle-3 at the second, spinning the ball back into the hole to the delight of those watching.
“It feels great to make the cut in my first European Tour event and now I aim to go out and enjoy myself in the final two rounds,” added the former Dunfermline Athletic defender.
“I played with a bit more freedom today and it was great to play so well when I had a few people up supporting me.”
It’s the second time in three years that Wright has survived the halfway axe here – a feat he also achieved in last month’s Open at Muirfield. Playing the course the opposite way round to Fenwick, he’d just arrived on the 18th green when the heavens opened.
“I was glad that I’d knocked my second to about eight feet and, though I lipped out for an eagle, I was pleased to learn a birdie was good enough for me to make it,” admitted the Capital-based Welshman.
Cockburnspath’s David Drysdale qualified as well on six-under but amateur ace Zander Culverwell was among those to miss out.
“It’s been an amazing experience and I’m leaving here knowing what I need to work on,” he said after a second-round 74 for 148.