BERND Wiesberger carded the lowest round of his European Tour career to share the halfway lead of the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open at The Renaissance Club.
The Austrian, whose previous low round was 63, made 11 birdies – including five in a row to end his round – to sign for a 10-under par 61.
He tops the leaderboard going into the weekend at the third Rolex Series event of the season at 14-under par alongside Englishman Lee Slattery and South Africa’s Erik van Rooyen, who carded matching rounds of 64.
Wiesberger said: “Walking down the last, I was nine-under and had a chance to go to 10.
“I haven’t shot 10 in a professional event yet, so that was a nice bonus. It’s just going with the flow and things worked out very well – not thinking too much and just keep doing what I’m doing.
“I had a couple of chances out there and just took the last five quite nicely. I played quite solid – nothing out of the ordinary.
“I hit a lot of shots quite close and obviously coming in, finishing off with five birdies is a bonus but it was a good day out there. I kept controlling my golf ball and took the chances when I had to take them.”
Wiesberger, who returned from a wrist injury at the end of 2018, won his fifth European Tour title at Made in Denmark in May and was second at last week’s Dubai Duty Free Irish Open.
Slattery who has not won since the 2015 Russian Open, said: “I feel like all the hard work I’ve put in over the winter is starting to pay off now and just trying to finish the season off strong.
“A lot of Rolex Series events to play and I feel I need to push this finish part of the season.
“I didn’t play too much in the early part of the year which is different for me. Spent more time with the family.
“Got a young family and felt like it was important to spend more time with them this winter. Did a lot of gym work at home and I feel like the game is starting to come together a little bit.”
Erik van Rooyen who is looking for his maiden European Tour win after success on the Challenge and Sunshine Tours, said: “It felt easy today, and it felt easy yesterday.
“When you’re playing well, it just comes naturally. And when you don’t — I missed the cut last week, it kind of feels hard. It’s great to go back-to-back seven-under.
“I had a good season last year, and I feel like we’re just building upon that. A couple of good finishes this year, as well, and it’s just fun to play back-to-back good rounds.”
The 2016 Open Champion Henrik Stenson and Nino Bertasio of Italy are two shots behind the leading trio.
Stenson, who has not won since claiming that Claret Jug at Royal Troon, said: “It was the same as yesterday, six birdies and no bogeys, so that’s always pleasing when you play 36 holes without dropping a shot.
“I’m just trying to keep up with the guys at the top of the leaderboard, and so far I’m pleased with the way I’ve played.
“A lot of good tee shots. A lot of good approaches and solid putting on the greens, even though I let one or two good chances slip by here on the back nine, I’m still pleased where I’m positioned after two rounds.”
American Justin Thomas, making his Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open debut this week, shares sixth on 11-under with Italian pair Lorenzo Gagli and two-time winner Guido Migliozzi, going for a hat-trick of victories in 2019. plus Finn Kalle Samooja and Spaniard Adrian Otaegui.
Calum Hill is the leading Scotsman on 10-under alongside 10 others, including Ryder Cup players Matt Fitzpatrick, Edoardo Molinari, Thomas Pieters and Ian Poulter.
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•MORE than one trophy will be up for grabs over the weekend, as the ground-breaking inaugural EDGA Scottish Open takes place at The Renaissance Club.
Ten golfers from the World Rankings for Golfers with Disability will compete in the 36-hole EDGA Scottish Open, teeing off approximately two hours before the first tee in the final two rounds of the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open.