"Pissing down and blowing a gale, I was glad to get finished," said a soaked but smiling Sam Torrance as he blethered away to an equally drookit press pack at Fairmont St Andrews. There were reasons to be cheerful. A week before his 60th birthday, this golden oldie from Largs kept himself plodding along among the pacesetters during the second round of the SSE Scottish Senior Open.
A fairly dire weather forecast for day two led to tournament officials bringing the tee times forward in an effort to escape the worst of Mother Nature's ire and it was a sensible decision with the rain starting to hammer down as the last groups trudged in.
Torrance, playing in only his fourth event of the season, emerged relatively unscathed and posted a battling level-par 72 for a two-under aggregate of 142 to sit in a share of eighth place, three shots behind Australia's Peter Fowler, who assumed command with a surging 66.
In a career of milestones, Torrance is set to reach another on Saturday when he chalks up the three score. He had his first Tour win in the 1976 Piccadilly Medal in Coventry and recorded his last Senior Tour triumph in the DGM Barbados Open of 2009. In his 43rd year as a professional, there's still plenty of ambition left. "I feel I've got one more win in me, at least," declared Torrance, who has clearly been galvanised by his appointment earlier in the week as captain of the Great Britain & Ireland team for October's Seve Trophy match with Europe. "Am I as good now as I was at 50? No, but I could be if I hit as well as I did in round one. I hit it well again today and I'm not far away. I just can't believe how quickly the years have gone between 50 and 60. It's ridiculous."
There are benefits to the ageing process, of course. "I'll get a bus pass and £200 a year in fuel money," he added with a grin.
Frontrunner Fowler was in a similarly chipper mood and no wonder. Out before the conditions really deteriorated, the 54-year-old made a purposeful march up the order and his superbly assembled six-under card propelled him to the top with a five-under 139 total. Starting on the 10th tee, Fowler was quickly into his stride with a birdie on his opening hole and a raking putt of 40ft on the 16th provided the catalyst for a hat-trick of gains before the turn.
The golfing wear and tear has taken a toll on Fowler down the seasons. The surgeons have probed and poked his back while operations on an increasingly gammy knee have become something of an annual occurrence in recent years. He's not quite the Six Million Dollar man, but the patch-up job might just be worth it here at the home of golf. Two decades after capturing his one and only win on the main European Tour, in the 1993 BMW International Open in Germany, he is well on course for a third victory in the over-50 ranks.
"I've had a slow start to the season," admitted Fowler, who did manage sixth place in last month's Senior Open at Birkdale. "The knee has been troubling me. When you play golf you walk about 14km, which doesn't help. But what else would I do?"
Santiago Luna, who beat Tiger Woods in the semi-finals of the Dunhill Cup at St Andrews back in 1998, eased into contention with a 71 to share second on 140. Given the conditions, it was an admirable effort from the sunshine-loving Spaniard. "Normally in this weather we stay at home," he said.
Irishman Philip Walton, who holed the winning putt for Europe in the 1995 Ryder Cup, posted the only other sub-70 score of a testing day - a 69 - to join a chasing pack on four-under that also includes his 65-year-old countryman Denis O'Sullivan and the 2008 Scottish Senior Open champion Peter Mitchell, who clearly has the taste for a double Scotch.
"I wouldn't be surprised if I won," said the Englishman, after grinding out a 70. "I'm playing that well." A few players, Torrance included, may just have something to say about that.