WEST LINTON’S Gareth Wright bemoaned a “wasted round” as he slipped seven shots behind leader Mark Kerr at the halfway stage in the £50,000 Gleneagles PGA Scottish Championship.
Wright, runner-up in the Tartan Tour’s flagship event over the King’s Course 12 months ago, carded a second-round 70 for a one-under-par total of 141, lying in a share of eighth with two rounds to go in Perthshire.
He was two-under for the day after 12 holes but dropped shots at the 14th and 15th before getting back into red figures with a birdie at the last.
“It was a good round wasted, really,” said Wright, who lost to Craig Doak in a play-off for the title a year ago. “The bogeys at both the 14th and 15th were disappointing.”
The one at the 14th, a short par-4, came at a hole where most players have been picking up birdies and also the odd eagle.
“I was a bit left off the tee but then hit what I thought was a good second shot,” added the 29-year-old. “But there was a stone under my ball and it ended up in a bunker, from where I was unable to get up and down.
“I then three-putted the 15th, which was silly.”
Kerr, the Marriott Dalmahoy member who is attached to Murrayfield at the moment, opened up a three-shot lead as he blasted a second-round 66 for an eight-under-halfway total of 134.
But Wright, who lives in Leith, was still hopeful that he could catch the pacesetter in the final two rounds and go one better than last year.
“I’m disappointed, but I’m still in the hunt,” he insisted. “I’m playing really good and just need to get everything to click at the one time in the final two rounds.”
Kerr, a former Dispatch Trophy winner and Lothians Championship runner-up, bagged seven birdies in his second round to spreadeagle the field.
He’s got fellow Dalmahoy member Robert Carson caddying for him and the pair are working well together. “Robert keeps me calm and he knows my game. He gets me to play the right shots all the time,” said Kerr.
A year ago, he had the same title in his sights after firing a 64 on day three to hold the lead heading into the final round.
He eventually finished third before also seeing a winning opportunity slip from his grasp in the Paul Lawrie Invitational at Deeside earlier this year.
It just seems a matter of time, though, before Kerr lands a big victory, and he’s hoping it will be this week.
But, despite being able to practice a bit more lately after finishing his PGA training, he knows the heat will be on him in the final two rounds.
“There’s still going to be pressure on me, but I’ll be going out there and giving it my best shot,” said Kerr.
Former Mortonhall man David Patrick just sneaked into the final two rounds on 147, five-over.
That left him with a mountain to climb in his bid to overtake leader Stephen Gray in the race for the order of merit title.