Chris Selfridge is hoping his one-shot clubhouse lead at the weather-affected SSE Scottish Hydro Challenge hosted by Macdonald Hotels and Resorts will prove a good omen ahead of his Northern Ireland’s Euro 2016 knockout clash against Wales on Saturday.
The 24 year carded seven birdies for a seven under par second round 64 to hit the front on 13 under par, with Englishman James Heath the nearest challenger after he carded a stunning nine under 62 for a 12 under total.
Both players were out in the morning groups and managed to hand their cards in before the clouds descended on Macdonald Spey Valley Golf Club. The rain began to fall and the threat of lightning caused play to be suspended at 15:35 local time, for a total of three hours and 25 minutes, before play resumed and was later halted overnight for darkness.
Selfridge was delighted with his form over the opening two days and, having finished in the top ten in Aviemore last year, he is feeling confident heading into the weekend.
“I played lovely today,” said the former University of Toledo graduate. “I hit plenty of good shots, made a few putts and got a few bits of luck along the way – exactly how you would plan it.
“I played well yesterday too with a 65, so I knew my game was good. But to shoot those scores you definitely need a bit of luck along the way, putts to drop. Some days everything goes against you so you take these days and make the most of them.
“I look back over my career and think, have I ever played better over two rounds? Probably not, but there’s such a long way to go and golf is a cruel game at times so I’m well aware of what can happen, but I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing.
“Momentum is massive in golf, there’s no getting around that. Whenever you make that big putt and you head to the next tee, you feel like you’re floating at times, so it was very important today.
“I played quite well here last year and I love the venue. This is one of my favourite golf courses so just playing two more rounds here is great but I’ll be hoping to do well too.
“We’re only half way there and I wouldn’t say I have too many expectations. That’s something I struggle with, putting too much pressure on myself but there’s a long way to go. I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing and hopefully the putts will drop.”
With his home country set for a crunch clash against Wales in the football European Championships, as well as the Republic of Ireland’s match-up against hosts France, Selfridge is looking forward to what the weekend has to bring both on and off the golf course.
“I would support both Irish teams quite closely and it’s brilliant to see them both going through,” he said. “It’s been a great distraction – everyone you meet or play with is talking about it.
“I was playing with Reinier Saxton today and I asked him, how the Netherlands are doing, and he said they’re unbeaten because they’re not even in the tournament! It’s great fun with all the guys.
“It’s good to see and I hope both teams do well. I fancy Northern Ireland to beat Wales but we’ll see how it goes.”
Mount Juliet's Kevin Phelan birdied his last three holes for a four under 67 and a share of with spot on seven under with Gary Hurley, who came back from an opening double bogey to be two under for his round with four holes to complete on Saturday.
With the cut projected to fall at four under, Cormac Sharvin (73-72) and Brian Casey (70-75) were heading home with a six over par Ruaidhri McGee (76-72).