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Three tied for lead in Senior Amateur

Paul Wharton didn’t think he’d be joint overnight leader of the R&A Senior Amateur Championship for the second consecutive day after two holes of his second round at Ganton Golf Club, but the Woodhall Spa member is just that after adding a 75, four-over-par, to his opening level-par 71.

The 60-year-old sits on four-over-par 146 alongside fellow Englishmen Robert Aston of Market Drayton Golf Club and Sunningdale’s Rupert Kellock. 

They hold a one-shot lead over Scotland’s John Mathers and Andrew Woodhead of England with 36 holes to go.

Difficult start

Retired golf equipment sales rep Wharton began with a double bogey and added a bogey at the second to be three-over after two holes. He birdied the ninth before adding further bogeys at the 11th and 15th holes.

“I got off to a bad start with that double bogey at the first,” said Wharton, who finished T13 in the 2019 Senior Amateur at North Berwick. “I didn’t think I played any differently to yesterday when I hit 17 greens. I probably missed five greens today, but it’s the sort of golf course where you can make a bogey or double bogey without really hitting a bad shot.”

Tough conditions

Wharton isn’t the only one struggling to handle the tough conditions Ganton is presenting to the best senior amateurs this week. Only one player has broken par over the first two rounds. England’s Stefan Priest returned a 1-under par 70 in round two.

“I first played here in 1987 in the English Stroke Play Championship. It was in great condition then but it’s in even better condition this week. They’ve presented it really well and we’re fortunate to play it. But it’s a really tough golf course. You have to grind your way around it and stay focussed because it can catch you out so easily. I think the winner this week will be the player who grinds his way round here and stays patient.”

Aiming to impress

Wharton is hoping to impress selectors for the England Senior Home Internationals at his home club next month. He played for England in 2019 but has been preoccupied with family issues and a house move that will take him within 300 yards, walking distance, of Woodhall Spa.

“I have to do really well over the next two days to get a place in the team automatically or get the wild card spot. Yes, it’s a motivation because it’s at Woodhall Spa, my home club, and I really want to represent my country again. I did it in 2019. I’m trying not to think about that and just concentrate on playing well over the next two days. I’d love to win this week, but there’s a long way to go and a lot of good players are in with a chance.”

Aston returned a level par 71, posting four birdies and four bogeys. Two of those dropped shots came over the final two holes to deny him the outright lead. Kellock returned a 72, with two birdies and three bogeys.

Moultrie drops back

Joint overnight leader Paul Moultrie of Scotland couldn’t maintain the form he’d shown in the opening round. The Royal Troon member began with a birdie to move to one-under-par, but bogeyed four holes out of five from the third hole to move over par. He birdied the ninth, gave that gain away at the 10th, before birdieing the 14th to move to two over for the championship. However, he finished bogey, double bogey, bogey, bogey to add a 79 to his opening 71. He stands at eight-over for the championship.

Richard Norton, the third player to shoot level par in the opening round to share the lead, scored a seven-over-par 78 to lie in joint 10th place.

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