Baker & Hend lead into the final round in Barbados

After day two of the opening tournament on the Legends Tour schedule, a number of big names rise to the top of the leaderboard. Irish duo David Higgins and Gary Murphy both saw improvements on Day 2, with Higgins adding a 69 to his opening 76 to move into a tie for 37th, while Murphy carded a 73 to move back into a tie for 50th.

Three players shared the lead going into Saturday’s second round, but it wouldn’t be the day German Thomas Gögele had hoped for – with a +1 round of 72. James Kingston rallied in an up-and-down round to sign for a 70 (-1).

Kingston joins five other players at -5 the week leading up to the final day: Phillip Price; Greg Owen, Michael Jonzon and 2005 US Open champion Michael Campbell.

After an opening day 68, 2003 US PGA Championship winner Shaun Micheel went one better with a 67 in the second round. The American is making his debut on the Legends Tour and he’s happy to be in the mix for the final round – just one shot ahead of the leaders at -7:

“Yesterday I played better, today I didn’t get off to a good start. I missed the short putt on 13 and that messed me up a bit, but came back and made birdie there. But today I was a little more determined to push myself a little, some easier putts on the greens.

“These are difficult greens to read, with a bit of wind, but I was very pleased. I putted well today and that is of course the key to everything.

“I practiced a lot at home, but I was not under any pressure in any way. A few times today there was a bit of nervousness – just some of the decisions I made weren’t too smart.

“I’m happy with the way things are going. I mean, this is why you play, this is why you practice so hard to get opportunities to win. It’s been a long time since I’ve had that opportunity. My playing feels like it’s good. Tomorrow I start teeing off to win a trophy, so the nerves will be there, but I think I can rely on my iron game. I’m also pretty good with the ball, so it’s really about managing yourself and not doing anything crazy.”

Peter Baker started this week, just as he remained at the end of 2023, at the top of the leaderboard. Level par for his front nine on Saturday, after which he would make four consecutive birdies after the turn to extend to a three-shot lead over the field at that stage.

In a second round of 67, he entered the clubhouse with the lead after his second round at -8 and now he is looking forward to doing his best to start 2024 with a tournament victory: “I’m looking forward to it. Obviously it’s going to be difficult, but hey, we’ll get right back to it in the first tournament of the year. It’s really exciting, I have a chance to win, and that’s what you want by the end of the week. We’ll see what happens – fingers crossed.

“I felt like I actually played a little bit better today and it got a little sticky in my last five or six holes. I missed a few putts but it’s tough out there and I holed my fair share – overall it was a good day.

“The back nine is definitely harder, there are some really good holes. Par is pretty good around the back nine, I think if you’re slightly under par that’s a good score and then hopefully you can get a few if you want on the front nine.

Australian Scott Hend won his first appearance on the Legends Tour last year, taking the title at the WINSTONgolf Senior Open in Germany, where he beat a certain Peter Baker to the title in a final round 66! He also finished second at the Vinpearl DIC Legends Vietnam, the penultimate event of last season.

Now in the first tournament on the schedule he has a share of the lead going into the final day – where he will play alongside Peter Baker.

Rounds of 68 and a 66 now on day two have pushed him to the top of the leaderboard – thanks in no small part to an eagle on the 9th and then a birdie on the difficult 18th.

Hend is now looking forward to seeing Baker’s competition up close after seeing him win four events last year and also claim the MCB Road to Mauritius Order of Merit title.

“I’m getting closer to how I should play. I made a few stupid mistakes today but I’ll try to get rid of them tomorrow and see if we can overcome Peter Baker. “Bake’s obviously a really good player here and I’m the new kid on the block, so it’ll be fun to see how the guy who wins all the championships plays.

“I’ve heard a lot about how the old guys can still play and how he’s winning trophies, so I’m really curious about his playing style. I haven’t really played with him much yet, so it’ll be interesting for me to find out and figure out what’s going on.

“Pressure is what you make of it, I’m a good enough golfer to shoot under par and I just have to do my job. If it’s good enough, it’s good enough – let’s just see how it goes.”

Full scores HERE