Ireland's Peter Lawrie is in a tie for second place after day two at the Johnnie Walker Championship in Gleneagles.
Lawrie picked up three shots today after a round of 69, leaving him on seven under along with a group of players, including Kenneth Ferrie and Thomas Bjorn, one stroke behind Spain's Ignacio Garrido.
The name of Kenneth Ferrie might bring back some horrid memories for Bjorn, but he is happy to be alongside at Gleneagles.
Ferrie’s last victory came in the 2005 European Open at The K Club – after Bjorn, four ahead with a round to play, took 11 on the 17th hole and six on the last for an 86 that remains the worst score of his 16-year tour career.
Losing in such a fashion was bad enough, but it also counted against the Dane when it came to Ian Woosnam choosing his wild-cards for the Ryder Cup at the Irish venue the following year.
Now he and Ferrie are locked together on seven under par, right on the heels of Spanish former Ryder Cup player Ignacio Garrido, on the course that will stage the match against the Americans in 2014.
With first round pace-setter Mark Foster adding “only” a 71 to his opening 66, 39-year-old Garrido took over at the top with a 69 and is hoping for his first victory since 2003.
Foster, also looking to bridge an eight-year gap, is now joint second with not only Bjorn and Ferrie, but also Italian Lorenzo Gagli.
Bjorn, chairman of the players’ committee on the European Tour, has been talked of a possible future Ryder Cup captain.
But, four months after serving as one of Colin Montgomerie’s assistants, the 40-year-old returned to winning ways in Qatar and last month at Sandwich finished fourth in The Open.
Instead of leading Continental Europe again in next month’s Seve Trophy in Paris – “I was never asked,” he said with a smile – he is all set for a return to the team.
“I want to play golf at the moment,” said Bjorn when asked about the Ryder Cup captaincy. “I think when you get to my age you always hope there’s one more in you.
“I don’t see it as something that you can stand there and say ’I want to do that’. It’s something that you’re asked to do and, if asked, I think any player would say yes.
“It’s not something I’ve got my sights set on because it’s out of my control.
“I’m a professional golfer – I’m a player. That’s what we are here to do and that’s what I’m doing at the moment.
“I feel good about my game and as long as I enjoy it that’s what I’ll focus on. I don’t want to sit on the sidelines in a buggy.”
Ferrie’s main priority is to secure his future on the circuit.
Despite coming within an inch or two of the Tour’s first-ever 59 – his approach to the last in Malaga in March ran past the edge of the hole – he stands 112th on the money list.
Only the top 115 retain their cards at the end of the season and Ferrie has turned back to a belly putter to try to help him.
“I’ve been playing pretty well all year, hitting lots of good shots, but haven’t been making the putts,” said the Northumberland golfer.
“People looking at my results might not think my game’s been there, but it’s been decent. I just need to keep plugging away and hopefully things will keep going my way.”
Both he and Bjorn shot 69, while Challenge Tour graduate Gagli had a bogey-free 68 to set up another shot at his first victory after finishes of third, eighth and fifth in his last four starts.