Scotland turned up the heat in The PGAs of Europe International Team Championship by putting daylight between themselves and the rest of the field at the halfway stage.
The Scottish trio had begun the second round sharing pole position with England after negotiating the Alvor Course at the Onyria Palmares Beach and Golf Resort on Portugal’s Algarve in seven-under-par.
Come the end of it, however, Gareth Wright, David Patrick and David Orr had claimed sole occupation after establishing a three-stroke advantage over the rest of the 25-strong field.
Patrick and Orr both carded level par rounds of 72 while Wright was Scotland’s main man for the second day running as they boosted their chances of earning the €6,000 first prize.
Wright, who won the Glenmuir PGA Professional Championship at England’s Carden Park in the summer, reprised his first round form by posting a three-under-par 69.
And, as well as accounting for the difference that now separates the Scots and the English, Wright’s round was also the joint best round of the day.
He shared that distinction with Portugal’s Nelson Cavalheiro but did so after overcoming an inauspicious start that saw him bogey the first hole.
A birdie at the 358 yard fifth erased that rare blemish before Wright moved into overdrive on the back nine and posted three more.
England, by contrast, fell away in the back nine after establishing a two-shot advantage over the Scots during the outward half.
The left-handed Stuart Little (pictured above), who posted 71, was the only one of the trio to break par while Steve Parry, whose opening day 67 remains the best of the tournament to date, carded 73.
Craig Shave, the team’s third member, also posted a one-over par 73 to give England a two-round total of 281.
As well losing ground to the Scots in their bid to win the Glenmuir-sponsored tournament, the six stroke advantage they enjoyed over third place has been reduced to five following a superb day for the Dutch.
Inspired by English-born PGA professional Ralph Miller and Robin Swane, who both posted two-under par rounds of 70, the Netherlands’ combined total of 140 was the best of the day.
Their two-day total of 286 also leaves them as one of just four teams under par at the halfway point; defending champions France, for whom Jean Pierre Cixous posted 70, complete the quartet on 287.