It was a sunny third day at Loch Lomond yesterday, and several of the competitors were having a gay old time. The American player, Brian Gay, revelled in the tranquillity of an almost balmy Bonnie Banks to post some scorching figures, draining seven birdies and suffering only one dropped shot in a six-under round of 65. Gay moved on to the higher reaches of the leaderboard at nine under par, within five strokes of the leader Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano. The man from Florida is a figure in form this season having won the St Jude Classic and the Verizon Heritage in the US.
He now has an opportunity to claim victory at his first tournament in Scotland. "I almost didn't play here on Thursday because of my back. I've just been relaxing, and I feel better," said Gay. "I wanted to try to make some birdies today, and get closer to the top, and that's what I did. It was really pleasant conditions to play golf in. "This is my first time in Scotland. Everybody is saying that this never really happens in Scotland, with all this sunshine. I'm just hoping it holds up for another day."
Gay will make his second appearance at the British Open at Turnberry on Thursday. He missed the cut in his solitary outing at the tournament at Royal Lytham in 2001, a week when his compatriot David Duval emerged with the Claret Jug. The rough could cause mayhem at the Open, but Gay, 37, is not perturbed. "I wanted to come over here early to get used to being in Scotland a week before the Open, even though I know this course is different from Turnberry," said Gay.
"I just wanted to get over here, and get adjusted for the week. I've only played in Europe once before. "We took a look at Turnberry on Monday. I think it will set up well for me. It is pretty tight, and you have to hit it straight. I can hit it straight." Men such as Ernie Els and Vijay Singh have tried to carry their game to various parts of the world rather than confine themselves to the US Tour.
Gay, ranked inside the world's top 50, can see the wisdom in adopting such a policy. 'I've been in the US the past 11 or 12 years," said Gay. "The only way to learn more as a player is to travel, and test your game on different courses, but I do not know how some of the guys manage to globe-trot the way they do. It is pretty hard." email@example.com