Attoe leads by three with a round to play

Defending champion Ian Attoe takes an three-shot lead into tomorrow’s final round of the English Senior Men’s Open at Holme Hall Golf Club, Lincolnshire.

He’s five-under for the championship, having played today’s second round at the companion course, Elsham, where he added one-over 72 to his opening 65.

His closest challengers are the Yorkshire pair of Richard Norton and Ian Clarke who are both two-under par after they returned 69s at Holme Hall.

One shot further back is Richard Elmes from Hampshire, whose 68 at Holme Hall tied the low score of the day.

Behind them is a chasing pack of six players grouped on level par which includes 2018 runner-up Rich Jones, senior international Rupert Kellock and Bob Florence, who also shot 68.

Attoe, from Worplesdon in Surrey, was out in two-under 34, having birdied both par fives. He dropped a couple of shots on the tougher back nine, but after holing a 33ft putt for birdie on 16 he was still on course to finish under par for the second successive round.

However, his hopes were thwarted by a double bogey on the 17th, where his approach went through the green into an unplayable position and he had to take a drop.

“I was slightly disappointed with the 17th, I would have liked to have finished under par, but overall the round was relatively pleasing,” he said.

Attoe, who is bidding for his third championship win, added: “I’m very pleased to be in the position I am and I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”

Norton (Beverley & East Riding) was one of only five players to beat par today after driving the ball well and avoiding any three-putts. “The most pleasing thing is that we have had the worst of the weather both days,” he said.

Norton, a senior international, has already won once this season, at the West of England Senior Open, and is keen for another victory. “That’s the idea! You wouldn’t be here for nothing,” he said.

Clarke, the new Lindrick club champion, was playing in the final group at Holme Hale and commented: “I’ve found something with my iron play in the last week or so and my putts have dropped.” In both rounds so far he’s set off at a great rate; his aim tomorrow will be to match it on the homeward half.

Elmes (Stoneham) put together a very tidy round with four birdies and just one bogey on the 16th. His 68 was matched by Kent’s Bob Florence (Rochester & Cobham Park) who started with an eagle two on the first and finished with three birdies in the last five holes.

Florence is joined on level par by Rich Jones (Rotherham), Rupert Kellock (Sunningdale), John Coupe (Canterbury), Paul Wharton (Woodhall Spa) and Tim Whittaker (Beaconsfield).

After today’s round the field was cut to the leading 80 players and ties with 85 players making the cut.

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