Phillip Price leads the Irish Legends presented by the McGinley Foundation by three strokes but will have to hold off the final day challenge of a host of proven winners at Rosapenna Hotel & Golf Resort.
The 2002 Ryder Cup player added a seven under par round of 64 to his opening 65 to reach 13 under par after two rounds, three shots clear of two-time Legends Tour winner Paul Streeter in second place on ten under par.
Price, who has two Legends Tour wins to his name, started with birdies at the second and fourth before his first dropped shot of the week arrived at the par three seventh hole. He bounced back immediately, however, with back-to-back birdies before making the turn.
The 54-year-old made four further birdies on the back nine, including a closing birdie at the par five 18th hole to extend his lead and ensure he went into the final day in pole position.
“I’m delighted with that,” Price said. “Yesterday, I played really nicely and you probably don’t expect to play quite as well today but I managed to shoot one better.
“I started quite well. I was determined that I need to be quite a lot under. It’s not a case of being a couple ahead of everybody else, I had a total of 12 under in my mind yesterday for the whole tournament and I’m going to need even more than that. Thomas is playing great, I think Paul Lawrie looks like he’s doing well and I think there’s a good score out there. It’s not very breezy, somebody can shoot seven or eight under out there so I wanted to get away.
“Thomas and Paul Lawrie are both four behind but I’m expecting at least one of them two to play quite well so I’m just going to get my mindset on me playing well again and making it very difficult for them. If I shoot par then I think they’ve got a good chance. I think the goal for me is to get as far ahead as I can and not just hang on.”
Scotland’s Paul Lawrie, the 1999 Open Champion, set a new course record on the Old Tom Morris Links thanks to a bogey-free eight under par round of 63 to join 2018 Ryder Cup Captain and 15-time European Tour winner Thomas Bjørn in a tie for third place on nine under par.
Argentine José Coceres sits in fifth place on six under par, one shot clear of 18-time European Tour winner Mark James, three-time Legends Tour winner Gary Wolstenholme and Scotland’s Euan McIntosh, who is competing in his maiden season on the over-50s circuit after earning his card at 2019 Qualifying School.
The Alliance Pro-Am, which is being played alongside the professional competition, also reaches its conclusion tomorrow, with Ireland’s Clem McCloskey leading on 70 Stableford points, four points clear of critically-acclaimed actor James Nesbitt, who is second on 66 points.
Paul McGinley was best of the Irish in a tie for 38th at one-over par with Brendan McGovern and Phillip Walton both at five-over.
The final round will begin at 8:30am on Sunday August 21, with Price, Streeter and McCloskey comprising the last group at 10:50am.
- Full scoring HERE