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The overnight leader picked up right where he left off with 10 birdies and only one bogey as he cruised to a course record 63 and a spectacular two-round total of -15. It’s an incredible score given the gusty winds and firm and fast fairways, with only nine players under par after 36 holes.
The Englishman birdied the opening hole and caught fire from the 6th with six birdies in seven holes – he played the same stretch in -5 in yesterday’s 66. His only bogey of the week followed at the 13th, but he bounced straight back with another step in the right direction on 14 and two more birdies at 16 and 18.
“I’m extremely proud,” said Baker, who’s 10th in the Order of Merit and finished tied-3rd at the Jersey Legends two weeks ago. “It’s hard to take in really. I played nicely and holed pretty much everything, as you do when you play and score well. I just wanted to keep going and make as many birdies as I could.”
“You couldn’t have a bigger turnaround in one week,” said Baker of his putting. “It’s gone for me these two days. I haven’t putted great for 18 months, so I’m probably as surprised as everyone else with that score. I’ve got to keep grounded. We’re two-thirds of the way through and we’ve got to try and play well again tomorrow.”
Four-time DP World Tour winner Ricardo Gonzalez, Order of Merit number one Adilson da Silva and New Zealand’s Michael Long are tied 2nd on -4, but they’ll need to find something special in the final round and hope for a little help from Baker if they’re to mount a realistic challenge for the trophy.
Gonzalez bounced back from a double bogey at 6 with three birdies on the back nine in his 71. Michael Long had a turbulent start with three bogeys and one birdie in his opening seven holes before three red numbers in a row from 8 and another birdie on 15 gave him a second successive 70. Da Silva notched five birdies and two bogeys in a 69.
Patrik Sjoland and Chris Williams are tied-5th on -3 and Gary Wolstenholme is 6th after following his opening 67 with a 75.