Capital star James Ross agonisingly missed the cut after seeing golf turn from the “easiest to hardest game in the world” in the SSE Scottish Hydro Challenge in Aviemore.
The rookie pro had stormed up the leaderboard after charging to the turn in 30, five-under-par, in the second round at Macdonald Spey Valley in Aviemore.
But, as the weather turned nasty for a spell in the Highlands, his momentum came to a shuddering halt as he started for home by dropping four shots in three holes.
Ross, making his Challenge Tour debut, eventually signed for a second successive level-par 71 but made an early exit from the £180,000 event after falling two shots below the cut mark.
“The weather came at a very bad time, but I’m not going to use that as an excuse as I’ve played in worse conditions,” said the Royal Burgess man.
“It was a case of the wheels coming off for four or five holes. It went from being the easiest to the hardest game in the world.”
Three Lothians players – Neil Henderson, Elliot Saltman and Grant Forrest – made it to the weekend as Englishman Gary Boyd spreadeagled the field with a second successive 64 to sit on 14-under.
Making his Challenge Tour debut, Henderson was delighted after tacking a 73 on to his opening 68 to sit on two-under.
“My goal at the start of the week was to make the cut,” said the North Berwick man. “I was maybe a little tense today but it was pleasing that I didn’t look as though I was going to make a bogey down the stretch.
“Apart from one hole in the first round, I’ve played solid for two days and now I can go out in the last two days feeling that I have nothing to lose.”
That will also be the case when Henderson plays in next week’s Scottish Open qualifier at North Berwick.
“I doubt anyone knows that course better than me,” said the Tantallon member, though he plays most of golf these days at The Renaissance Club. Also in the 36-hole event next Saturday and Sunday, Ross is keeping his fingers crossed that he might still get a crack at qualifying for The Open at St Andrews.
“I was sixth reserve last night so there’s a chance I might get into the final qualifying at Glasgow Gailes on Tuesday,” he revealed.
Two off the lead after an opening 66, Archerfield ace Saltman just scraped into the weekend after a 74 that included a double-bogey 7 at the 17th.
Playing in one of the final groups of the day, Forrest holed a 15-foot downhill par putt at his final hole, the tenth, to also make it on two-under.
“I celebrated with a bit of a fist pump as I’ve played in a couple of pro events before and this is the first time I’ve made the cut,” said the Craigielaw star.
His second-round 67 was sparked by four birdies in his first seven holes. “I played really well today, hitting it close a few times with wedges,” said the 22-year-old.