Perthshire, Scotland – Mark Foster carded a 4-under 68 on Friday to grab a share of the lead after two rounds of the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles.
Foster, who lost this event in a playoff last year, was joined at 8-under-par 136 by Richard Finch, who fired a 5-under 67 in round two. Foster owns one European Tour win, while Finch is a 2-time tour winner.
First-round co-leader Brett Rumford managed a 2-under 70. He slipped into a share of third at minus-7. Qatar Masters winner Paul Lawrie posted a 3-under 69 to finish alongside Rumford.
Gregory Bourdy (66) and Paul Waring (67) share fifth place at 6-under-par 138, while David Howell (69) and Nicolas Colsaerts (70) are one shot back at minus-5.
Colsaerts, who needs a top-2 finish this week to grab the final automatic qualifying spot on the European Ryder Cup team, birdied four of the last five holes to jump up the leaderboard.
Foster, the 2003 dunhill championship winner, parred his first three holes before tripping to a bogey on the par-4 13th. He quickly atoned for that mistake with a birdie on the 14th.
The 37-year-old Englishman converted a birdie effort on the par-5 18th to make the turn at minus-5 on the PGA Centenary Course at Gleneagles.
Foster made it two in a row with a birdie on the first. He continued to roll with birdies on two and three. Those four birdies moved him to minus-8. Foster closed with six consecutive pars to end there.
Foster is coming off a 5-week break that included a trip to the London Olympics.
"I got some tickets for Super Saturday off a French website and it was probably the best thing I've ever seen," said Foster of the Olympics. "I just thought you don't get much chance to take a break like that, so I thought I needed to regroup and that's the decision I needed to do it. Just spent some time at home and sorted the house out."
Finch tripped to a 3-putt bogey on his opening hole, No. 1. After four pars in a row, he erased that mistake with a birdie on the sixth. Finch birdied the ninth to make the turn at 4-under.
Around the turn, Finch birdied the 11th and 12th. He faltered to a bogey on the par-4 13th to slip back to minus-5.
Finch, a 2-time winner in the 2008 season, came right back with a birdie on No. 14. He also birdied the 16th to get to 7-under. Finch grabbed his share of the lead with his second birdie in two days at the 18th.
"To shoot 67 was definitely good. We had a few downpours, and I had a couple of 3-putts and I got that the first couple of holes," Finch said. "All in all it's nice and I'm looking forward to playing. It should be a good weekend."
Knut Borsheim, who shared the first-round lead with Rumford, stumbled to a 1- over 73. He slid into a share of ninth at 4-under-par 140. Francesco Molinari (72) and Colin Montgomerie (68) are among the others tied at minus-4.
NOTES: Defending champion Thomas Bjorn carded a 1-under 71 and finished two rounds at 3-under-par 141, which was good for a share of 20th...The cut line fell at even-par 144 with 67 players moving on to the weekend...Among those that missed the cut were Simon Dyson, Michael Hoey, European Ryder Cup captain Jose Maria Olazabal, Darren Clarke, Miguel Angel Jimenez and Paul McGinley.