- Matthew Sughrue leads the Senior Amateur Championship after two rounds
- He heads up a congested leaderboard of challengers looking to claim the title
- Former champions are all in the mix.
- The final round of the Senior Amateur Championship will be played today at North Berwick
A closing birdie has Sughrue leading by one heading into the final round.
A birdie three on the closing hole when he putted from 50 yards off the green to six feet and sank it, gave Matthew Sughrue a one stroke lead going into today's (Fri) third and final round of the Senior Amateur Championship at North Berwick.
He leads from fellow Americans Bob Royak and Gene Elliott with two others a further stroke back.
Sughrue edges in to lead
Sughrue was out in 35 to move to seven-under par with birdies at the fourth, eighth and ninth and a bogey at the par three sixth where he missed a short putt. He put a 9-iron to 12ft at the fourth and sank it, then found the green in two at the par five eighth and ninth two putting from 40ft and 35ft respectively
He then parred the first eight holes coming home before his closing birdie edged him in front.
"It was tough coming home but I had par saving putts on 12, 16 and 17 before finally getting the birdie on 18," said Sughrue, a sports performance coach from Arlington, Virginia.
Fast start for Royak
Royak, who had shared the lead with him overnight on 67, had earlier raced to eight-under par with three birdies on the way out, before dropping strokes at the tenth and 14th then birdieing the last.
"I did well to save par at the second when I put my tee shot on the beach, hit a 9-iron into the rough, wedge out and sank a 20-footer," said Royak. "Then I was steady after that."
He two putted from 40ft off the back edge for a birdie at the third, sank a 30-footer for another at the seventh and hit a drive and hybrid to 25ft on the long seventh and two putted.
At the short tenth he three putted from the front edge then did the same on the 14th before getting up and down from just off the green at the 18th.
Elliott holds on in the wind
Elliott raced to the turn in four-under 33. He birdied the first with a 9-iron to four feet, the long third when he found the green with a 6-iron and two putted from 20ft, the seventh when he holed his third from five feet and the long eighth when he his drive and 5-iron to 40ft and two putted.
"It was a struggle on the way with the wind," said Elliott, in the next to the last group out.
"But I played steadily, saving par with a 20-footer on the 16th, before birdieing the last when my first put off the green hit the stick."
Players moving into contention
Californian Craig Davis posted a second successive 69 to finish on six-under 138 alongside Paul Wharton from Woodhall Spa, the leading home player.
Davis was three-under par 34 for the front nine and then level par 35 for the back nine.
He birdied the second with a drive and an 8-iron to six feet, the long third with a drive, 8-iron and two putts from 30ft, the seventh with a drive and a sand-wedge to 10ft and the long eighth with a drive, a hybrid to the right edge and two putts from 70ft.
He dropped shots at the fifth when he put his second over the back of the green and took three putts, then at the short tenth when he missed the green on the right and failed to get up and down.
He then parred all the way to the 18th where he almost drove the green and two putted from there.
"I putted well without really sinking anything too long," said Davis.
Local making strong Senior Amateur debut
Wharton, playing in his first Senior Amateur, added a second round 67 to his opening 71.
"I drove it really well and putted really well," said the 58-year-old retired Titleist salesman.
A drive, a 7-iron and a 40-yard chip to eight feet brought Wharton his first birdie at the long third and another chip to two inches took him two under at the fifth.
He dropped a shot at the seventh when he took three putts from the back of the green but sank a 30-footer for eagle at the long eighth after hitting the green with a 4-iron.
Out in 34 he got to five-under for his round with birdies at 11 and 14, then dropped a stroke at 17th when he bunkered his second and only just got out, before finding the green from the tee at the final hole and two putting for birdie from 40ft.
Former champion still in the mix
Three-time winner Paul Simson from North Carolina is one of three on five-under 139 after adding a 71 to his opening 68.
Simpson had birdies at five and eight on the way out and 14 and 18 on the way home but also dropped shots at the 12th, 16th and 17th.
Alongside Simson are his fellow American Randy Haag and Rupert Kellock a former Royal Green Jackets army officer from Sunningdale.
Kellock holed from 20ft for a birdie at the first and lipped out for an eagle at the third to be out in 35 and went three-under the card with a 4-iron third to three feet at the long eleventh having got in trouble off the tee.
"I lipped out a couple more times on the way home, including at the 18th where I putted from 40 yards for eagle and had a tap-in birdie.
Haag got to six-under with birdies at all the par fives, the third eighth and ninth on the way out then dropped a stroke at the short tenth before parring home.
"I'm seven under for the par fives on the front nine after two rounds but two over for the back nine," said Haag.
Rounding out the top-10 after two rounds
Three-time former winner Chip Lutz had just one birdie and one bogey in a level par 72 to share ninth place on four under par with fellow American Jay Sessa, who added a 67 to his opening 73.
Five others are on three-under and eight on two-under.
Last year's runaway winner at Royal Porthcawl, Trevor Foster from Accrington added a second round 70 to his opening 74 to make the cut on level par.
The top 60 and ties on two over par, 65 players in all, will play the final round today.