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Watson moves on up in Ladies Scottish Open with a little help from father

Apart from, say, a slap-dash approach to do-it-yourself and homespun philosophies on how to save a few bob by trying to fix the car's wonky timing belt, it's often the case that dad knows best.

Sally Watson has taken another step in the right direction
Sally Watson has taken another step in the right direction

Sally Watson would agree with that. "I'll usually make the decisions on the course but I trust him when I'm not sure," said the 24-year-old from Elie as the father-and-daughter alliance continued to prosper during the second round of the Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scottish Open.

The sun was keeking out at Archerfield Links but not many made hay while it shone. Winds gusting up to 30mph provided plenty of menace and mischief but Watson, with father Graham as caddie, managed to harness the conditions on a day when home hopefuls such as Kylie Walker, Carly Booth and defending champion Catriona Matthew were blown off course with over-par scores.

Watson's spirited one-under-par 71 for a two-under aggregate of 142 tucked her into a share of second place with one round to play. She may trail the evergreen English veteran Trish Johnson by six shots, but this was another step in the right direction for the young Scot who is making impressive strides during her rookie season on the Ladies European Tour.

"Dad's advice is especially good when the wind is blowing," added Watson, who finished third in June's Slovak Open and is in the hunt for the circuit's rookie of the year award.

"This was another day to keep grinding away. At least it was warmer than Friday. It was very difficult and every time you made a par you felt like you were picking up half a shot. Slovakia was a good experience of being involved down the stretch and hopefully I can continue to put myself in those positions."

Watson is the new kid on the block. Johnson, with over 20 tour wins worldwide, has been around it a few times. The 48-year-old, who led going into the final few holes of this event in both 2010 and 2012 but couldn't seal the deal, cemented her place at the head of the pack with a tidy two-under 70 for an eight-under 136 which left her in a commanding position.

Johnson has tasted team success on Scottish soil in the Solheim Cup at Dalmahoy and Loch Lomond down the years, while this season she won in the more modest surroundings of the Ladies Tartan Tour in St Andrews.

"But this would be the first big individual win in Scotland and it would be really nice to finish it off," said Johnson, who trundled in a raking birdie putt of 40 feet on the seventh - her 16th - to illuminate a battling card. "I thought the conditions were tougher than the first day; it was just relentless. It was difficult to get it close to the pins and I made a lot of very good two-putts. If I shoot under par again, I think I'll be hard to catch."

If Johnson does take the crown, she will become the oldest champion in the history of the Ladies European Tour. Laura Davies holds the record, having won the 2010 Women's Indian Open at the age of 47.

France's Gwladys Nocera, who landed the Ladies Scottish Open at the Carrick on Loch Lomond in 2008, winkled out a three-under 69 to equal the best of the day, aided by three birdies in a row from her 10th hole, and take a share of second with Watson.

On the day she blew out the candles on her 28th birthday cake, Walker, a two-time winner on the tour this year, blew herself out of the running with a damaging 77 which saw her drop 11 shots off the pace with a 147.

Booth, the Ladies Scottish Open champion in 2012, endured a torrid 79 that left her on 149 while Matthew, with two Scottish Open wins in the last three years, had a toiling 77 that was bereft of birdies as Scotland's highest-ranked golfer finished down the field on 150.

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