Brendan McGovern followed his opening round of 71 with a second round 69 to sit in a tie for tenth just three back from the lead at the Senior Italian Open presented by Villaverde Resort.
McGovern opened his second round with a birdie on the first and then dropped his only shot of the day on the fourth. The Headfort man quickly bounced back with a birdie on the fifth, thirteenth and fifteenth to card a second round 69 and leaving him on four under par within touching distance of the leaders ahead of today’s final round in Italy.
Last week’s runner up American Clark Dennis and Peter Fowler go into the final round in a share of first place on seven under par at Golf Club Udine.
Fowler, winner of the 2011 John Jacobs Trophy for topping the European Senior Tour Order of Merit, fired a four under par 68 to join rookie Clark Dennis, who carded a two under par 70, at the top of the leaderboard.
Dennis started the day with three consecutive birdies and made a fourth on the eighth hole before dropping a shot on the ninth hole to make the turn three under par.
The American birdied the tenth hole before a triple-bogey on the 15th hole saw him drop to six under par. He then recovered with a birdie on the 17th hole before finishing his round with a par on the 18th hole.
“I played very nicely today, and on 15 I didn’t really hit a bad tee shot,” said Dennis. “I hit a good drive and it just went to the left, when I got to the ball it was plugged in a weed and I couldn’t really advance out of it.
“I should have pitched out sideways, but I was just 100 yards from the hole. I hit it in the water, dropped it in another bad lie, hit it over the green and didn’t get up and down. I made a nice birdie on 17 though, so that made up for it.
“I feel as though I played just as well today, shooting two under, than I did yesterday shooting five under.
“I have won a lot of golf tournaments in my life; I’ve messed up a few lately but hopefully I’ll go out tomorrow and get the victory. Who wouldn’t want to be in the final group on the last day?”
Fowler, starting the day on three under par, carded five birdies with just the one bogey on the sixth hole to sign for a round of 68.
“I was consistent off the tee and rolled in a couple of putts,” said Fowler. “My approach play was good, especially on the back nine. I’ve figured out, even if I’m playing poorly, I’ll battle it out and I’ll be there or thereabouts. Even if I’m playing poorly, I’m still confident that I’ll shoot under par.”
Hot on the pair’s heels are current Order of Merit leader Chris Williams and two-time Senior Tour winner Steen Tinning on six under par. Six golfers, including former Ryder Cup players Barry Lane and Jarmo Sandelin, share fifth place on five under par.
The third and final round of the Senior Italian Open will be played as a U-draw, with players starting from the first and tenth tees at 08:15, due to the threat of inclement weather in the region.
Scores after round two:
137 P Fowler (Aus) 69 68, C Dennis (USA) 67 70,
138 S Tinning (Den) 69 69, C Williams (RSA) 70 68,
139 G Marks (Eng) 67 72, B Lane (Eng) 72 67, J Sandelin (Swe) 69 70, R Chapman (Eng) 70 69, A Bossert (Sui) 68 71, S Dodd (Wal) 71 68,
140 A Franco (Par) 68 72, C Suneson (Esp) 69 71, B McGovern (Irl) 71 69,
141 J Kingston (RSA) 71 70, G Brand Jnr (Sco) 67 74, M Farry (Fra) 69 72, P Golding (Eng) 71 70,
142 M Harwood (Aus) 72 70, A Oldcorn (Sco) 69 73, T Thelen (USA) 68 74,
143 M Martin (Esp) 71 72, G Orr (Sco) 73 70, S Luna (Esp) 73 70, G Emerson (Eng) 70 73, J Carriles (Esp) 72 71,
144 P Wesselingh (Eng) 74 70, R Rafferty (Nir) 69 75, M Atlevi (Swe) 71 73, D Gilford (Eng) 72 72, A Sherborne (Eng) 71 73, C Rocca (Ita) 72 72, C Mason (Eng) 73 71, G Wolstenholme (Eng) 70 74,
145 B Longmuir (Sco) 75 70, B Conser (USA) 74 71, L Zhang (Chn) 70 75, M Mouland (Wal) 75 70,
146 Z Martinez (USA) 77 69, P Wilson (Eng) 73 73,
147 C Monasterio (Arg) 74 73, J Rivero (Esp) 72 75, P Eales (Eng) 77 70, S Brown (Eng) 71 76, G Rusnak (USA) 72 75, M Mackenzie (Eng) 74 73,
148 G Turner (Nzl) 74 74,
149 J Sallat (Fra) 74 75,
150 P Linhart (Esp) 78 72,
151 G Brand (Eng) 77 74,
153 P Walton (Irl) 77 76, S Richardson (Eng) 76 77,
154 N Job (Eng) 76 78,
155 M Bianco (Ita) 79 76,
158 C Acutis (Ita) 80 78,
162 L Vento (am) (Ita) 81 81, M Franco (am) (Ita) 85 77, G Airaga (am) (Ita) 79 83