Trevor Foster dug out the putter which helped him win the British Seniors’ crown in 2018 and used the ‘magic wand’ to conjure up a score that puts him back in the hunt for his own national title.
The England international knew he had to produce something special at Army Golf Club on day two of the English Senior Men’s Stroke Play Championship.
A frustrating first round of 73 at Blackmoor left him four over par and facing a stern test on a course where scoring had generally been tougher.
Overnight, Foster decided to ditch the putter which stuttered so badly in round one in favour of a faithful old friend – and it proved to be an inspired decision.
A four-under par round of 67 at Army catapulted the Lancashire golfer up the leaderboard.
He sits tied for first spot alongside Rich Jones on level par for 36 holes.
On a day when most players in the field found reverse gear, it was full steam ahead for Foster whose scorecard included five birdies and just one bogey.
With one round left to play at Blackmoor tomorrow, there are 19 players within five shots of the lead.
Foster might be hard to beat if his putter behaves for another 18 holes.
“I couldn’t buy a putt on Wednesday despite the greens at Blackmoor being the best greens I’ve ever putted on in this country,” admitted Foster.
“Something had to change.
“I went back to the putter I used when I won the British, Irish and West of England titles – I don’t know why I ever ditched it!
“I putted so badly last week in an event at home that I brought four putters this week, but I hadn’t practised with this one.
“I needed a confidence boost from somewhere and chose to go with the one I used to win the British at Royal Porthcawl. It certainly worked.
“I also have to make mention of my wife Debbie who caddied for me and kept me going with food and drinks and encouragement throughout the round.”
Last year Foster led deep into the back nine of this event at Woodhall Spa – but errors on two par fives cost him dearly.
Perhaps 2021 will be his year.
Fellow leader Jones may also feel this event owes him a turn.
The Yorkshireman was left to rue one bad hole – the 18th at Army – for spoiling what would otherwise have been a second consecutive round under par.
A triple bogey seven at the last meant he signed for a 73 to accompany the two-under par round of 67 he shot on day one at Blackmoor.
Having lost in the 2018 play-off to Ian Attoe and finished fourth in 2019, he’s certainly paid his dues.
There are three players one shot adrift of the joint leaders – three-time winner Attoe, debutant Steve Jensen and defending champion Rupert Kellock.
Before the championship, Kellock pinpointed Jensen as a man to watch.
The 2020 winner has proved to be a shrewd judge of competitor.
The Wisley golfer has gone about his business quietly to shoot a one under par round of 70 at Army followed by a two over par 71 at Blackmoor to join Kellock on +1 for 36 holes.
Even further down the field, there are dark horses ready to sneak up on the rails.
One of those men is Warren Bladon (pictured above).
There aren’t many golfers who can say they have played a competitive round with Arnold Palmer at The Masters.
Yet Kenilworth’s Bladon had that experience in 1997 – the year after he won the Amateur Championship at Turnberry and earned an exemption for Augusta.
Now enjoying senior golf and playing in this event for the first time, Bladon is lurking with intent on +3 after shooting 73 around Army and carding a one-over par 70 at Blackmoor.
There was a feeling of ‘what might have been’ after he played the back nine at Blackmoor in three-over par having come quickly out of the blocks with birdies at the first, fifth and eighth holes.
But for him and many others there could still be a tale to tell on the final day.
First round leader Mike White remains in the mix at three-over par despite a second round 78 moving him down to a tie for seventh.
When the dust settled after day two, the cut came at +12.
On Friday, the remaining players in the field will play Blackmoor in three balls with the first tee time at 7.30am and the championship still wide open.
Photography credit: Leaderboard