Twice champion Greig Hutcheon took over at the head of the field at the halfway stage as defending champion Chris Kelly went from six shots ahead to six behind on the second day of the M&H Logistics Scottish PGA Championships at Gleneagles.
Hutcheon, now 46 and attached to the Paul Lawrie Golf Centre, won the title previously in 1999 on the PGA Centenary and in 2013 on the King’s Course, and his six-under 64 on the great James Braid track took him a shot clear of Greg McBain, with the dangerous Paul O’Hara just a further shot behind.
There was a sharp reversal of fortunes of Kelly, however, following his superb opening 62 with a 76 and falling into a tie for ninth on two-under.
Hutcheon did his best work on the back nine, racing home in 30 strokes with eagles at the short par four 14th – where he hit the flag with his tee shot – and 18th.
“I knew I needed to post something with Chris having started so well,” said Hutcheon, who has finally feeling the wear and tear of his long career which included seasons on the European Tour.
“My hip was so tight yesterday,” he said. “It’s just wear and tear, stretching and Deep Heat are all I can do with it, but it felt a little better today.
“I’m looking forward to the challenge over the next couple of days.”
McBain, who finished joint-second behind Kelly 12 months ago, backed up his opening 66 with a 67 that contained six birdies.
“I made some nice up and downs on 15, 16 and 17 to keep the score going,” said the Newmachar professional. “At the 17th, I fatted my second 50 yards but then chipped on and holed the putt.
“I then made a birdie-4 out of the fairway bunker at the last, holing a 40-footer down the hill, so a finish like that is always good.
“I played nicely again but it was tough in the wind at the end. I’ll take that score and hopefully I can push on tomorrow.”
O’Hara, last year’s Order of Merit winner, made five birdies in his 66 while playing partner Paul McKechnie (Braid Hills Golf Centre) bounced back from a double-bogey at the 13th with three birdies in the final five holes to sit fourth on five-under.
Tom Higson, one of the host club professionals, is on four-under alongside Chris Currie (Erskine), Neil Fenwick (Dunbar) and the unattached former European Tour pro Jamie McLeary.
The halfway cut fell at four-over-par, with former European Tour Rookie of the Year Scott Henderson and 2016 Senior PGA Professional champion Robert Arnott among those to make early exits.