Sam Torrance re-wrote the record books with a stunning second round 63 to place one hand on his 11th European Senior Tour title at the DGM Barbados Open.
Torrance shaved a stroke off the Royal Westmoreland course record previously shared by Priscillo Dinz (2001), Terry Gale (2003) and Gavan Levenson (2004) to set a new Senior Tour low for 36 holes of 16 under par 128.
The Scot now takes a record equalling nine shot lead over Paraguay’s Angel Franco going into the final round, with the only other player to hold such a margin on the Senior Tour being Tommy Horton in the 1997 Scottish Seniors Open.
Des Smyth is the leading Irishman after a three-under 69 moved him up for 30th to tied 13th on one-under par with Jimmy Heggarty and Denis O'Sullivan on one-over after rounds of 72 and 74.
Torrance, who has yet to drop at shot in Barbados having opened with a 65, is now in pole position to become the first Senior Tour player to win having lead wire-to-wire with no ties since Carl Mason’s victory in the 2006 Estoril Seniors Open of Portugal.
An eagle three on the 13th hole – the fourth hole of his second round having started on the tenth tee - was the catalyst for another spellbinding performance from Europe’s 2002 Ryder Cup winning Captain, with a further seven birdies to follow including one on the final hole to set the new course record.
“I really did play magnificently again today,” said the 55 year old. “I actually missed three or four putts from five feet so it could have been even better but I’m delighted with a 63 and the course record.
“The eagle really started it all off. It was a great tee shot then a fantastic four iron to eight feet. That was my first hole under par and I just kicked on from there. I holed a couple of 20ft putts and a few 10ft putts but I’m just playing magnificently at the moment.”
Torrance, who finished tied sixth in the season opening Aberdeen Brunei Senior Masters presented by the Stapleford Forum, certainly appears to be back to his best form following a troublesome hand injury, having won the 2008 season ending OKI Castellón Open España – Senior Tour Championship.
He admitted the size of his lead would mean the final round challenge would be a different one from that victory where he had only a two stroke margin.
“I am quite a few shots clear now so it will be a different pressure but I’m playing really well and I’ve just got to go out and keep on doing what I’ve been doing,” he said. “I’m really looking forward to it.”
Franco also eagled the 13th hole en route to a round of 67 to move to seven under par, with Torrance’s compatriot Ross Drummond a shot further back following a 69.
Englishmen Martin Poxon and Glenn Ralph on five under par, with Ralph’s 67 continuing his fine return to the game following more than a year out due to a broken ankle suffered in a swimming pool accident whilst on holiday.
The 52 year old Camberley Heath professional finished tied sixth alongside Torrance and Sandy Lyle in Brunei and has maintained his form in Barbados.
“I’m a little bit surprised with that round I have to admit,” said Ralph whose best Senior Tour finish was second in the 2007 Scandinavian Senior Open. “I’ve not played golf at all for more than a year and I came out here, like I did in Brunei, with no expectations. I was just hoping to play some golf before the big run of tournaments in the middle of the year.
“I played really steadily though and holed some nice putts so long may it continue. I’m just going to go out there tomorrow and enjoy the day.”
128 S Torrance (Sco) 65 63
137 A Franco (Par) 70 67
138 R Drummond (Sco) 69 69
139 G Ralph (Eng) 72 67, M Poxon (Eng) 70 69
140 M Harwood (Aus) 68 72
141 N Job (Eng) 70 71, G Brand (Eng) 68 73
142 B Longmuir (Sco) 71 71, H Carbonetti (Arg) 72 70, G Cali (Ita) 71 71, J Bruner (USA) 72 70
143 D Cambridge (Jam) 71 72, D Smyth (Irl) 74 69
144 A Tapie (USA) 73 71, D Russell (Eng) 71 73, A Murray (Eng) 71 73, L Carbonetti (Arg) 72 72
145 D O'Sullivan (Irl) 71 74, B Cameron (Eng) 70 75, D Durnian (Eng) 72 73, J Heggarty (Nir) 73 72
146 D Johnson (USA) 72 74,
147 B Lincoln (RSA) 71 76, J Cañizares (Esp) 74 73
148 M Cunning (USA) 79 69, B Smit (RSA) 74 74, J Chillas (Sco) 74 74, J Rivero (Esp) 73 75
149 I Mosey (Eng) 72 77, I Woosnam (Wal) 75 74
150 P Oakley (USA) 74 76, K Spurgeon (Eng) 77 73, B Boyd (USA) 76 74, M Piñero (Esp) 77 73
151 J Hawkes (RSA) 73 78, G Levenson (RSA) 73 78
152 A Fernandez (Chi) 73 79, C Leacock (Bar) 74 78, G Banister (Aus) 72 80
153 T Charnley (Eng) 79 74, T Horton (Eng) 74 79, V Garcia (Esp) 76 77
154 M Miller (Sco) 79 75, G Encina (Chi) 81 73
156 A Garrido (Esp) 80 76
157 D Arnette (USA) 77 80