Barry Lane was delighted to show he can still mix it with the young guns of the European Tour after the veteran Englishman took the clubhouse lead following a weather-shortened second day at the Avantha Masters in Delhi.
The 49-year-old carded a second consecutive 67 to move to 10 under par, level with compatriot John Parry and Taiwan’s Chan Yih-shin who both have one hole remaining in their second rounds after play was curtailed due to lightning.
Lane, who is set to join the Senior Tour in June, has only finished in the top 30 of a European Tour event twice in the last two years but is poised to improve that record following two excellent rounds at DLF Golf and Country Club.
“It can be hard work being an old man out here,” Lane admitted. “I will turn 50 in June and these young guys are bombing it past you at times but it is nice to know that I can still play and compete out here, it has just been the short game and the putting but hopefully that is getting better.”
Three birdies over his opening nine holes helped Lane remain in touch at the top after starting the day three back from overnight leader Marcel Siem.
He picked up another shot at the first and although that was subsequently cancelled out with a bogey at the fifth, two more birdies saw Lane sign for a five-under-par effort.
The most satisfying aspect for the Henley resident was a marked improvement on the greens.
“I have actually started off the year all right but my problem for the past two years has been my putting,” he conceded.
“You just have to look at the scores from Qatar and then Dubai last week to see that my putting has been horrendously up and down.”
Parry, having begun the day tied for third with Lane, went out in 31 as an eagle at the 18th laid the platform for the 23-year-old to open up a useful advantage at the top of the leaderboard coming home.
A birdie at the third took him to 11 under but he could not capitalise and a dropped shot at the fifth saw him slip back into the chasing pack alongside Lane and Chan.
The trio are one stroke ahead of a quartet of players.
Lane had trailed Andrew Dodt for most of the morning but a double bogey at the par-three 16th when a wayward tee shot which found the water saw the Australian sign for a 68.
He joined David Drysdale on nine under after the Scot produced a strong finish with three consecutive birdies in his five-under 67.
Darren Beck surged up the leaderboard following an impressive bogey-free 65, while Singaporean Lan Chin-bing completed the group following a 68.
Four more players are tied at eight under while Ireland's Darren Clarke climbed back into contention after a 66 that featured nine birdies, seven of which came in his last 11 holes, moved him to seven under par.
He was joined by Oliver Fisher, who posted a 67, and Siem who had dropped off the pace after three straight bogeys from the 12th saw him one over with three holes of his second round to go.
Shane Lowry finished on -7, while Gary Murphy was on +5 and on 15 holes at the break.