Johnnie Walker Championship: One-shot lead for Ricardo Gonzalez at Gleneagles
Last Updated: 24/08/13 1:33pm
Ricardo Gonzalez: Shot second consecutive 65 to open one-shot lead
Argentina's Ricardo Gonzalez claimed a one-shot lead at the halfway stage of the Johnnie Walker Championship after shooting a second consecutive 65 at Gleneagles.
Gonzalez birdied his last five holes on the Centenary Course - which will host next year's Ryder Cup - to finish the day one clear of Australia's Bernd Wiesberger on 14-under-par.
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.
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Gonzalez has not played since failing to qualify for the Open Championship but arrived in Scotland refreshed after five weeks back at home in Rosario - birthplace of football star Lionel Messi - 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."
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.
Wiesberger on song
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," the 27-year-old stated.
Second round leaderboard
(GB & Ire unless stated)
-14 R Gonzalez (Arg)
-13 B Wiesberger (Aut)
-11 T Fleetwood
-11 M Foster
-10 B Koepka
Click here for collated scores
"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, with Foster admitting his search for a second European Tour victory 10 years after his first is always on his mind.
The 38-year-old from Worksop also lost out in the play-off here in 2011 after a bogey on the 72nd hole and has let several other chances to win slip from his grasp.
"At the time it was not too bad, but as it went on I thought about it more, especially every time I step onto the 18th tee here now," said Foster, whose sole victory to date came after a six-man play-off in the Dunhill Championship in South Africa in 2003.
Australia's Brett Rumford, winner of back-to-back tournaments in Korea and China earlier this season and second here 12 months ago, was among those five off the lead after a 69, while defending champion Paul Lawrie was another two strokes back following a 67.