They say all good things come in threes and it proved the case for Matt Ford as he seized the outright lead on day two of the Titleist PGA Play-Offs in Turkey.
The Kent pro was labouring at level par midway through his second round of the £15,000 tournament but had a spring in his step by the 13th tee following gains on the par four 10th, 11th and 12th holes.
A further birdie on 17 left him signing for a four-under-par 67 to sit one clear of Matt Cort at nine under for the 54-hole event with the Scottish pair of Greig Hutcheon and Chris Kelly tied third a further four strokes back.
Ford (CK Group) has set himself the target of a top two finish at Antalya Golf Club to secure the tour starts he craves including the BMW PGA Championship but admitted to a few nerves early on.
“I didn’t play quite as well, tee to green the stats weren’t as good as yesterday, certainly for the first six holes when I was one over,” he said.
“There were a few things in there that I wasn’t happy with swing wise so I’ll head to the range to sort that out. I think I was a little tense to start with but those birdies settled me down.”
His triple tonic started with a short putt on 10 followed by a 28 footer on 11 and a chip in over a bunker on 12.
“I went from being level par on the front nine and feeling quite frustrated to three under after 12 and then played quite nicely from then on,” he added
The Challenge Tour regular will be paired alongside Rothley Park’s pro Cort and Cawder Golf Club’s Kelly in the final group.
Cort came into the tournament seeking a top 10 finish and a place at Wentworth but after his 68, which included four birdies on the front nine, is re-evaluating his goals for the event.
“After last year when I missed out on Wentworth my target was top 10 but now may be I might have to rethink that and go for something better and mentally refocus,” he said.
“I played nicely, may be even better than my first round. I got off to a hot start on the front nine and still played nicely on the back nine but couldn’t really commit to the putts.
“I dropped a shot on 16 when I went for the green in two and hit it in the water. I haven’t really played the par fives well this week so that’s one area I can improve tomorrow.”
Former Scottish PGA Champion, Kelly, fared better on the same hole with his birdie one of four that helped him to a 68 to sit alongside Hutcheon who carded a 70.
“I was pretty steady, nothing spectacular and didn’t do a lot wrong,” said Kelly who is making his debut in the play-offs.
“I played this course years ago in a pro-am. But it was off the yellows, off the back tees it is an awful lot longer than you think.”
Kelly’s girlfriend, fellow PGA pro Heather MacRae, is caddying for him with the pair set to swap roles later this week when she bids to secure her Ladies European Tour card with a top five finish in the LET Access Series.
A top 10 finish for Kelly tomorrow will secure his place at Wentworth while also strongly placed to appear in the European Tour’s blue riband event are Ian Ellis (Costessey Park) and Jason Levermore (Channels) who fired 67s to sit at three under for the tournament.