St. Andrews, Scotland – Tom Lewis fired a 7-under-par 65 on Friday to grab sole possession of the lead at the halfway point of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.
Lewis, one of five overnight co-leaders, sits at 15-under-par 129 through 36 holes. On Saturday, the Englishman will battle Carnoustie, the hardest of the three active courses during this pro-am event, after playing Kingsbarns and St. Andrews the first two days.
"Seven-under is a good score at St. Andrews, but there was no wind today so I think you would be disappointed if you did not shoot better than 5-under," said Lewis, who won the 2011 Portugal Masters in his third event as a professional.
Joost Luiten shot 63 at Kingsbarns to move into solo second at 14-under 130.
Peter Uihlein became the 17th player in European Tour history to shoot 60, moving into a share of third place at 13-under 131 in the process. The American had a chance to record the first 59 in tour history, but his long eagle effort at Kingsbarns' par-5 ninth (his last) narrowly missed wide left.
Richard McEvoy, another first-round co-leader, dropped into third place after managing a 67 at Carnoustie. He and Uihlein stand alongside Mark Foster (66), Hennie Otto (63) and Oliver Wilson (67), who also held a share of the 18-hole lead.
Thomas Levet (64), Soren Kjeldsen (66) and Jamie Donaldson (67) are tied for ninth at minus-12.
Lewis is seeking a strong finish on the weekend, as he currently resides outside the top 110 (No. 155) in the Race to Dubai standings, with just three events remaining to decide playing status for 2014.
Starting on the 10th tee at St. Andrews, Lewis parred five straight before notching birdies on three of his next four holes to turn in 33.
Lewis parred two in a row from the first, then closed his bogey-free round with four birdies over his final seven holes to move into solo first.
"I feel like I am home again," he said. "Links golf suits me, I won the St. Andrews Links Trophy here in 2011 and it's great to come back. I knew I had good form coming in but Friday has been my enemy this year, so it's good to get it out of the way."
Uihlein, who earned his maiden European Tour win at the Madeira Islands Open in May, began on the back nine at Kingsbarns and turned in 31, with three birdies and an eagle over that span.
Around the turn, Uihlein heated up, wrapping two birdies around another eagle from the second. He added birdies at the sixth and seventh to set 59 in his sights. It wasn't meant to be, however, as his 20-foot birdie effort from the fringe went wanting at the eighth, as did his eagle effort at the ninth.
"I knew I needed to make an eagle and I thought I hit a good putt," said Uihlein. "I thought it would come back to the right but it kept going left.
"Today started off with me hitting it close and not making anything and then I started holing it from everywhere. It was just one of those days that went for me."
NOTES: Uihlein's 60 equaled the course record. Branden Grace shot 60 at Kingsbarns last year en route to the victory at this event. Grace is currently 5-under-par 139 through 36 holes ... Luiten has won twice this season: at the Lyoness Open and the KLM Open ... Charl Schwartzel, the highest-ranked player in the field at No. 19, is 8-under-par 136 ... Teams of one professional and one amateur will play each of the three courses in rotation over the first three days with the final round being played on the Old Course at St. Andrews. After three rounds, the field will be reduced to the top 60 professionals, including those tying for 60th place, and the leading 20 teams.