Problems on the greens left Capital star Euan McIntosh feeling blue at the halfway stage in the Carrick Neill Scottish Open Stroke Play Championship at Gleneagles.
The 49-year-old Turnhouse player found himself six off the pace heading into the final two rounds after taking 35 putts in the first circuit, then 36 putts second time around on the King’s Course.
“I’ve not had much success on the greens,” groaned McIntosh, who came into the event in red-hot form after winning the Scottish Amateur, Leven Gold Medal and North East Open on the spin.
“I’m not seeing the right lines at all and when you aren’t seeing the ball go into the hole, it becomes pretty tough.”
McIntosh, who started the second round just one shot off the lead following an opening 68, reeled off 12 straight pars before running up a double-bogey 6 at the 13th.
“That was a bad mistake as I hit it into a bunker from the middle of the fairway before then hitting my second shot right at the 17th and seeing it plug in a grass bunker,” he reported.
As Castle Park teenager Connor Wilson slipped out of contention following his promising start, Craigielaw’s Nurtai Saldarov maintained a recent eye-catching run of form.
Saldarov, an 18-year-old from Kazakhstan who has based himself at the East Lothian club this summer, carded a second 69 to sit just four off the lead on two-under.
“I’ve had two very good days. I’ve struck the ball very well and also putted very well. Today it was a lot windier out there and I was happy that I was able to hit the ball a bit lower,” he said.
Saldarov, who is coached by Craigielaw-based Eric Grandison, won the Stuart Cup as leading qualifier before reaching the final in the recent Lothians Championship at Luffness New.
“I’m very pleased how I have played this summer,” he said. “I am pleased that all the hard work I’ve put in is paying off and I’ve come into this tournament with a bit of momentum, which is great.”
Victor Veyret, a 21-year-old, carded a five-under 65 to lead by a shot from Barassie’s Euan Walker (68).