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Peter Baker has recorded a pair of 69s to reach -6 after two tough days on the Legends Tour, with the course playing long and blustery winds making clubbing very difficult. He was one shot off the top after the opening round, but six birdies helped him take the solo lead with 18 holes to play.
The Irish Legends winner started on the 10th and got out the blocks well with three red numbers in the first six holes. A dropped shot on 18 took him back to -5, and he balanced a pair of birdies with a pair of bogeys on his inward half before a birdie two at his final hole gave him a second successive 69.
“It was a really tough day,” said Baker, who’s currently 5th on the Legends Tour Order of Merit. “Every shot you played was difficult. It went well for me, I holed a few nice putts and hit some really good irons shots, so I’m really happy.
“I’ve been playing pretty decent. A bit disappointing last week, but I’m trying to keep it going and not trying to do anything different. I hope I can make it last as long as I can.”
His nearest challenger is three-time major winner Vijay Singh who was -6 for the day and -7 for the tournament after 13 holes, but two bogeys in his final five holes saw him slip back to -5.
The Fijian enjoyed a great battle with playing partner Ernie Els, who held the lead for much of the day after an eagle at 3 and back-to-back birdies on 6 and 7. Unfortunately, the South African made three bogeys on the back nine and he’ll start the final round two shots adrift in a tie for third with Steven Alker.
Alker, who has six Champions Tour wins including last year’s KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship, climbed the leaderboard with a 69 that included birdies at all four par-5s. It could have been even better but for a bogey on 18. Jeev Milkha Singh also fell foul of the 18th with a double bogey on his final hole, but he still shot solid even par round to be 5th on -3.
All three of the overnight co-leaders were over par in round two. Rod Pampling and Keith Horne shot 75 to drop into tied-8th, while Philip Golding is on +1 after a disappointing 77.
There are 15 players within five shots of the lead, also including defending champion Alex Cejka at -2 and tournament host Darren Clarke and eight-time DP World Tour number one Colin Montgomerie at -1. The forecast for the final round is for heavy rain and more blustery winds, so the tournament is still wide open with an enthralling final round in prospect.
You can watch highlights of round two on Sky Sports Golf at 11pm tonight (Friday 4th August) and 11am tomorrow (Saturday 5th August). The show will also be available on the Legends Tour YouTube channel, and there will be same-day highlights of the final round on Saturday evening.
Visit www.legendstour.com for the full leaderboard, final round tee times and more information about the JCB Championship at JCB Golf and Country Club, Uttoxeter, England.