Des Smyth carded a level par 70 in the second round of the Bad Ragaz PGA Seniors Open to move into a share of seventh place, as Sir Bob Charles fell back into the chasing pack after the 76 year old’s amazing first round 66, writes the European Senior Tour.
The legendary left-hander from New Zealand bettered his age by a record-breaking ten strokes on Friday at the Golf Club Bad Ragaz in Switzerland, but he had to settle for only a three stroke improvement after a second round of three over 73.
Charles now lies on one under par, in tie for 26th position, three ahead of another legendary 76 year old, Gary Player. The South African nine-time Major Champion posted a level par 70 to remain on two over.
Smyth, meanwhile, is five shots behind runaway leader Tim Thelen of the USA, but only two behind second placed Ian Woosnam, Mike Cunning and Chris Williams.
Denis O’Sullivan is the next best placed Irishman in the field, four shots behind Smyth after his own level par 70, while Philip Walton posted one under 69 to get back to two over for the tournament.
Thelen held off Bernhard Langer, Barry Lane and Peter Fowler with a brilliant final round performance to win his maiden Senior Tour title at last week’s Berenberg Bank Masters, and he has brought the same form to the Swiss mountains and the Golf Club Bad Ragaz.
“It was another fantastic day out there,” said Thelen. “I only really missed two greens all day and made the double bogey on the ninth, but apart from that I played great and made a lot of chances for birdies, a lot of which I converted.
“I think I will try and be pretty relaxed tomorrow in the final round but I know that I have to go out there and make birdies. The guys behind me are so good that if I go out there and make a load of pars then these guys will run straight over me. It’s great to have a three shot lead but it can all change so quickly.
“I would have to say that my confidence is very good after winning in Munich last week. When you look at the names that were on that leaderboard, it’s amazing when you consider what they have achieved.
“To beat those guys, birdieing the last hole to win, was just fantastic and made me feel like I really can compete with these great players. Hopefully I can do the same tomorrow.”