Grantown’s Duncan Stewart is targeting a place at next week’s Open at Carnoustie to secure an overdue reunion with his close friend Russell Knox.
Stewart yesterday shot a six-under-par second round of 64 at the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open at Gullane, having opened the tournament with a level-par 70 on Thursday.
The 34-year-old remains close with last weekend’s Irish Open winner Knox, who is now based in Florida, with the pair having been Scottish World Cup team-mates in 2016 having attended Jacksonville University together.
The pair have not touched base despite both playing this week’s event, however Stewart is eyeing up one of the three places up for grabs at next week’s major as the ideal way to catch up.
Stewart said: “I’ve not met Russell yet. He was up in Inverness at his junior event and he’s just keeping himself to himself just now. He’s tired, he’s had a long run.
“I almost texted him after France to say you should maybe pull out of Ireland to conserve energy. I’m glad I didn’t. He’ll be there next week.
“Hopefully we can have a practice round at Carnoustie – that’s the plan.”
Inverness’ Knox is seven-under-par for the tournament after following up his opening round of 66 with a three-under-par second round yesterday, however he admits he remains low on energy following last week’s triumph in Donegal.
He added: “I think that was probably my best round of the year.
“After about three holes I felt like I’d got hit by a bus and I couldn’t focus all day. It was kind of weird.
“My whole body aches from head to toe and that’s the first day that’s happened, so I’ll be going to the physio.”
Press and Journal columnist Stephen Gallacher struck a four-under-par 66 after shooting level par on the opening day, finishing with back-to-back bogeys which denied him further advances in the leaderboard.
He said: “I played great the first 16 holes, not dropping a shot, it’s just a pity that I got done in by a wind change at the 17th.
“Like any links course, you need a bit of wind. If you are sitting a bit back and have five or six-under in the wind, then you can move up the leaderboard a fair bit.”
Peterhead’s Jamie McLeary also made the cut on four-under for the tournament, however Aberdeen’s Richie Ramsay missed out despite at one stage being seven-under overall, prior to five bogeys in his final nine holes to leave him two-under-par.