European Tour

Gonzalez leads Johnny Walker

2013-08-23 20:46
Ricardo Gonzalez (Getty Images)
Gleneagles - Argentina's Ricardo Gonzalez has admitted his bid for victory at the Johnnie Walker Championship is being driven by a desire to dedicate a fifth European Tour title to his late parents.

On the Centenary Course, which will host next year's Ryder Cup, Gonzalez birdied his last five holes to card a second consecutive round of 65 to move one shot clear after the second round on Friday.

The 43-year-old's last win came in 2009 and after failing to record a single top-10 finish this season he currently lies 109th on the Race to Dubai, with only the top 115 at the end of the year retaining their playing privileges for 2014.

But the former caddie's mind has understandably been elsewhere after his mother, father and father-in-law all passed away in the space of the last two years.

"The last two years have been very difficult personally," Gonzalez said.

"If I win I would like to dedicate it to my mother and father, that's my target this week."

Gonzalez has not played since failing to qualify for the British Open, but he arrived in Scotland refreshed after five weeks back at home in Rosario where he has a farm.

"It's a very important week for me because I have not played well at the start of the season," he added.

"To shoot two rounds of 65 is amazing.

"I had five weeks' rest to recharge my batteries.

"It's strange because I'm a professional golfer and I need competition, but I'm feeling great after five weeks off.

"It has made me more relaxed and I think that's the key to making a good score."

Austria's Bernd Wiesberger could not match the brilliant finish of Gonzalez, but still covered the back nine in 31 to add a 66 to his opening 65 and finish 13 under.

The 27-year-old lost in a five-man play-off here two years ago but won twice last season and has already impressed Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley.

"I played with Mr McGinley in the final round of the Scottish Open and afterwards he said he was very happy with my game and thinks I can play myself into the team.

"That's something I really enjoyed hearing.

"It's good that I have my name up there and even though qualifying has not started yet (it begins in Wales next week), it's important to play well at the Ryder Cup venue and make a statement that way."

English duo Mark Foster and Tommy Fleetwood are 11 under after rounds of 67 and 65 respectively.

Selected scores from the second round of the Johnnie Walker Championships at Gleneagles on Friday (GBR and IRL unless stated, par 72):

130 - Ricardo Gonzalez (ARG) 65 65
131 - Bernd Wiesberger (AUT) 65 66
133 - Tommy Fleetwood 68 65, Mark Foster 66 67
134 - Brooks Koepka (USA) 68 66
135 - Brett Rumford (AUS) 66 69, Fredrik Andersson Hed (SWE) 68 67, Thongchai Jaidee (THA) 66 69
136 - Craig Lee 69 67, Francesco Molinari (ITA) 69 67, Oliver Fisher 66 70, Gregory Havret (FRA) 67 69
137 - Emiliano Grillo (ARG) 71 66, John Parry 71 66, Richie Ramsay 69 68, Paul Lawrie 70 67, Scott Henry 72 65, Alvaro Quiros (ESP) 70 67
138 - Ross Fisher 66 72, Paul Waring 75 63, Gareth Maybin 68 70, David Horsey 70 68, Tom Lewis 67 71, Peter Lawrie 71 67, David Drysdale 71 67, Shane Lowry 68 70, Eddie Pepperell 72 66, Christopher Doak 69 69
139 - Mikael Lundberg (SWE) 70 69, Martin Wiegele (AUT) 69 70, Anders Hansen (DEN) 70 69, Matthew Nixon 68 71, Joakim Lagergren (SWE) 68 71, Simon Dyson 72 67, Darren Fichardt (RSA) 69 70, Joel Sjoholm (SWE) 68 71, Stephen Gallacher 71 68, Marcus Both (AUS) 69 70, Thorbjorn Olesen (DEN) 71 68, Gregory Bourdy (FRA) 68 71, Ignacio Garrido (ESP) 66 73, Paul McGinley 68 71
140 - Mark Tullo (CHI) 69 71, Soren Hansen (DEN) 69 71, Jorge Campillo (ESP) 69 71, Matthew Baldwin 70 70, Mikko Korhonen (FIN) 71 69, Gary Stal (FRA) 69 71, Morten Orum Madsen (DEN) 70 70, Matthew Southgate 72 68, Raphael Jacquelin (FRA) 69 71, Gary Boyd 71 69, Andy Sullivan 67 73, Richard Finch 73 67, Eduardo De La Riva (ESP) 68 72, Rafael Cabrera Bello (ESP) 71 69, Michael Hoey 68 72

Read more on:    european tour  |  golf
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