Friday, June 04, 2010

Stage set for English seniors' title battle at Carlisle

The final day of the English Seniors Championship will be an intriguing battle at Carlisle today as the cream rose to the top in round two with internationals filling the leading six places.
Alan Squires took over at the top of the leaderboard on three-under-par par 140 after a 71 in as the sun beat down at Eden, which followed a 69 at Carlisle, the only man to better par on both courses. He leads by three from overnight leader and defending champion Chris Reynolds, who returned 74 at Eden, and by five from former world speedway champion Dave Jessup.
Squires, from Oldham, started with a bogey at the second and dropped one more shot but he cancelled that with three birdies and even lipped out for eagle at the long eighth.
“I played it very cagey at Eden today,” said Squires. “I hadn’t played the course before and I took on board what some of the other players were saying that it was a tough test. But I’ve amazed myself this week because I have not played a lot this year. It is difficult to play in competitions such as the Irish Seniors and the Scottish when you have a job and playing with the lads at Oldham is a lot different from a national competition. But I’m not putting pressure on myself. I’ve been in this position before, three years ago, and blew it. But I’m playing solidly and if I can shoot under par again we’ll see.”
Reynolds was going nicely at Eden, level par through 13 holes but bogeys at the 14th and 18th dropped him back.
Jessup, on 145 after a 72 at Carlisle, expressed himself as happy despite a double bogey five at the short fourth where he missed the green and three putted. But he found three birdies and although he dropped another shot at the short 17th he declared: “I’m just happy to be a contender.”
Four-time champion Roy Smethurst is six strokes behind but got himself back into contention with a 72 at Eden and shares fourth place with Welsh international and 2008 champion John Jermine, who went round Carlisle in 76. Hertfordshire’s Peter Bax, who shared the overnight lead on 69, carded 78 at Eden to drop back to joint sixth spot on 147.
The best round at Carlisle came from another international and former champion Doug Arnold, who signed for 70, which hauled him up the order after a disastrous 81 at Eden.
“I had a bad finish at Eden yesterday, dropping six shots in the last three holes including two lost balls,” said Arnold. “I lost another on the first today and three-putted the fourth, but I battled away to get three birdies including a chip-in on the eighth.”
The day also saw a second hole-in-one. Following an ‘ace’ at the 161 yard 13th at Eden in round one by Martyn Senior, the former secretary at Hesketh Golf Club, which helped him make the cut, Peter Groocock from Hampshire holed his seven iron tee shot at the 137 yard 13th at Carlisle. It was the 68 year old great grandfather’s seventh hole-in-one, all of which have been in competition.
The 36-hole cut came at 156 with 64 players surviving for the final 18 holes.



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