Paul Broadhurst has already tasted Scottish Senior Open glory in East Lothian – and he’s on the title trail again in the same event on Scotland’s Golf Coast.
The Englishman was making his over-50s debut when he landed the spoils at Archerfield Links just under two years ago, using that success as a springboard to become Senior Open champion last summer.
Now Broadhurst is setting the pace next door at The Renaissance Club after opening this year’s £250,000 event with a five-under-par 66.
The 51-year-old, who bagged six birdies in his first 17 holes before having his only bogey of the day at the last, leads by a shot from Swede Magnus P Atlevi and Australian Mike Harwood.
“I played really well and you’d take five-under any time,” reported Broadhurst after his round. “We got caught on the second hole in the first squally shower we had but, from then on, I hit some quality iron shots.”
In his Senior Open title defence at Porthcawl last week, Broadhurst tied for 15th behind German Bernhard Langer, so came into this event feeling quietly confident.
“I played well last week,” added the Midlander. “I didn’t think I had the best of the weather and it was the same at The Open, too. It’s the luck of the draw I guess.
“The game has been okay and, if I can keep holing a few putts, hopefully I’ll be there or thereabouts come Sunday.”
On a disappointing day for the home contingent, Stephen McAllister produced the best effort, a one-over-par 72, to sit joint-18th.
Ross Drummond and Bill Longmuir are tied for 34th on 74, a shot ahead of Gary Orr in joint-41st, while Sam Torrance and Andrew Oldcorn are both outside the top 40 after having to settle for 76 and 77 respectively.
Meanwhile, Catriona Matthew is facing a sweat over her hopes of playing in a ninth Solheim Cup in Iowa in a fortnight’s time after missing the cut in the Ricoh Women’s British Open at Kingsbarns.
The North Berwick woman had already been named as one of Swede Annika Sorenstam’s three vice captains for the match in Des Moines but would prefer to have a playing role in the latest instalment.
Matthew now can’t qualifying automatically, so needs one of the four picks to be announced by former world No. 1 Sorenstam straight after the fourth women’s major of the season finishes on the Fife coast on Sunday night.
The 2009 winner carded a two-under 70 in the second round, but that was not enough to repair the damage of her opening 76 on Thursday.
“It is very frustrating,” admitted Matthew after being watched by Sorenstam at the finish. “I got off to a bad start yesterday, making three bad swings, and never really recovered.
“I played well today, hitting 17 greens in regulation. I just never made enough birdies.”
Asked if she thought missing the cut in the final counting event could prove costly, Matthew added: “Who knows, but it is not ideal.”
Former Murrayfield member Sally Watson made the cut in her farewell appearance in pro golf before doing an MBA at a business school in Chicago.
Watson, the only Scot still standing, carded a second-round 69 to sit on three-under.