Macdonald Spey Valley GC (7100 yards. Par 71), Aviemore (Sco unless stated)
136 T Fleetwood (Eng) 71 65, A Hansen (Den) 70 66, L Canter (Eng) 70 66, D Lloyd (SA) 67 69, C Russo (Fra) 69 67, E Dubois (Fra) 67 69, S Walker (Eng) 69 67, C Lee 70 66, L Kennedy (Eng) 71 65 137 A Pavan (Ita) 68 69, E Kofstad (Nor) 70 67, B Barham (Eng) 71 66, B Åkesson (Swe) 68 69, S Hutsby (Eng) 73 64, A Versfeld (SA) 66 71, A Marshall (Eng) 67 70, L Jensen (Den) 68 69, S Bebb (Wal) 70 67, A Snobeck (Fra) 71 66, C Carranza (Arg) 70 67 138 G Lockerbie (Eng) 70 68, O Whiteley (Eng) 69 69, G Adell (Swe) 68 70, C Moriarty (Irl) 69 69, J Doherty 69 69, S Tiley (Eng) 70 68
139 A McArthur 71 68, G Hutcheon 67 72
Missed cut. 141 E Saltman 67 74 142 S Henderson 74 68 143 S Drummond 72 71 145 M Warren 74 71, S McAllister 70 75, S Duncan 72 73, D Stewart 74 71 146 C Macaulay 71 75, M Kerr 69 77, E Wood 72 74, J Gallagher 74 72, K McAlpine 77 69, R Cameron 76 70 148 R Dixon 75 73 152 K McNicoll 79 73 154 E Ramsay 75 79 155 P Smith 78 77 156 N Fenwick 79 77
Chris Doak led the way, with Gavin Dear and Craig Lee among the chasing pack, at Spey Valley yesterday as the latest evidence was offered that the Team Scottish Hydro project is heading in the right direction. Admittedly, the tournament, backed by the same sponsor, was only at the midway point, but following hard on the heels of Lee’s second-place finish on the European Tour at Saint Omer last week, it was hugely impressive to have three of what is a five-man team among the pace-setters in such a high-class event.
And all the more so when it is considered that 18 of the 24 Scots chasing both the title and the Douglas Lowe Trophy for the leading Scot, missed the cut which came at 140, two under par. With Jamie McLeary, winner of this event two years ago, unable to play due to a hand injury, only Callum Macaulay – whose second-round 75 left him four over par – will be disappointed with this week’s effort at what is their home event.
And it is very much their home event as a team, because its existence played a significant part in bringing them together. Both the event and the team have been driven by Bounce Sports Marketing, who recognised some time ago the need to provide a different type of support.
“I always said that the way we developed players, it was like they were dragged up the mountain in elite [amateur] squads, then the moment they turned professional they were thrown off the precipice,” said Iain Stoddart, the co-owner of Bounce Sports. He believed that neither the Scottish Golf Union, nor the Scottish PGA, were taking ownership of a problem which was down to matters as simple as teaching players how to enter tournaments, book flights and arrange to get home when they missed cuts.
Both governing bodies are now involved in Scottish Golf Support Limited, which is currently backing four players, including Dear and Macaulay, but its focus leans towards coaching and fitness rather than the pragmatic matters that Stoddart believed could make a difference.
The power company’s involvement in the Challenge Tour event provided the environment in which plans could be discussed further. “We’d had this project in mind for a number of years but it had to stack up in business terms for Scottish Hydro to get involved,” Stoddart said. That was partly achieved with the introduction of a community element, which included allowing clubs throughout Scotland to compete for the right to lead teams in this week’s pro-am.
Stoddart is very pleased with the response of the current quintet, describing them as well balanced individuals who have understood fully both the opportunity presented and the responsibilities that go with it. However, others will be considered for future inclusion and he cited as a prime example Andrew McArthur, a European Tour player last season who lost most of his playing right, leaving him, as he said during the course of winning last week’s Paul Lawrie Invitational, living “on the breadline”.
Even now the likes of McArthur are being helped. Having a Challenge Tour event in Scotland provides bargaining power that allows invites to be offered to players from other countries in exchange for reciprocal invites. “Andrew is playing in Sweden next week,” Stoddart said. “Through that system we’ve effectively given him his Challenge Tour card back.”
McArthur was among the other four Scots to make the cut after shooting a 68 for a three-under-par total. That left him eight behind Doak who followed his course-record opening round of 63 with a well constructed 68 to be one ahead of Jose-Filipe Lima from Portugal. Federico Colombo, of Italy, and the Englishman Matthew Southgate share third at nine under par, one ahead of Dear.
Lee is in a tie for seventh on six under. The other Scots contesting the final 36 holes today and tomorrow are Jack Doherty and Greig Hutcheon.