17 May 18
Lightning, it is said, never strikes twice in the same place. When it comes to golf, however, John Gould, could take some convincing.
Having been denied a share of pole position at the end of round one when Mark Ridley (above) chipped in from 40-feet to birdie the final hole on the Bernard Hunt course at Foxhills, Gould suffered similarly in round two on the Longcross course.
Again the scenario occurred on the final hole on the double green that serves the 18th on both courses at the Surrey resort but Ridley was even further away from the pin. Not that that mattered.
Employing his putter this time, Ridley watched his ball scuttle unerringly towards the hole before dropping for an eagle and a one-under-par round of 71 that leaves him on six-under for the tournament.
Ridley greeted the shot with a broad grin and arms outstretched Angel of the North-style, which is perhaps appropriate given he represents South Moor Golf Club in nearby County Durham.
It also means he has maintained his one shot advantage over the field in the chase for the £6,000 first prize put up by Silversea, the luxury cruise line specialists sponsoring the tournament for a third year.
Heading the rest of the 200-plus strong field is Gould (below) who maintained the pressure on Ridley by going some way towards emulating him with a 25-foot putt for a birdie at the 18th.
That was not all the pair had in common. Both found the Longcross course more challenging than its longer sibling, mainly because of the tighter fairways which, tree-lined, made anticipating the effects the wind would have on shots a tricky business.
Perversely, though, the scores in the second round suggested the Bernard Hunt course was weary of being described as the ‘easier of the two’ and bared its teeth.
Whereas on day one when five players broke par on the Bernard Hunt course and one followed suit on the Longcross, the tallies were reversed in round two.
In addition to Ridley and Gould, John King, Martin Forster, Steven Bennett and Jon Bevan all posted sub-par rounds, the latter on the Bernard Hunt course.
King, with a round of three-under, carded the best score of the day to complete the trio who are under-par for the tournament. But, given he is five shots off the lead, the final day has the look of a duel between Ridley and Gould to establish the destiny of the winner’s cheque and trophy.
Not that rest of the 50 who made the cut do not have anything to play for: as well as the remainder of the generous £41,190 prize fund on offer, the top 15 places guarantee a berth in the Staysure PGA Seniors Championship at the London Club in August.
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