The Canadian added a two under par round of 69 to his opening round of 68 to reach five under par, one stroke clear of Englishman Peter Baker, Argentine Ricardo Gonzalez and Scotland’s Gary Orr, who share second place on four under par.
There was a delay of more than two-and-a-half hours at the start of the day due to heavy rain and fog and, although play was able to resume, the early groups had to battle the conditions to post a score.
“I got off to a little bit of a slow start but with the weather, the first couple of holes were when we had the downpour and we were wondering if it was ever going to end but then it cleared and got a little windier,” he said.
“The front nine played a little tougher into the wind and then it switched to more of a crosswind on the back nine. It played a little bit easier than the front side. We didn’t come to Scotland for calm conditions. It definitely played a little bit harder today and this is the way links is supposed to be played.”
The 2020 Qualifying School graduate has three professional wins to his name and will tomorrow have to keep a chasing pack at bay to earn his first victory in Europe.
“I’m going to have to go low,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of good players crawling behind me but I’m just going to go out, play 18 holes, shoot as low as I can and add them up when I get done.
“I’ve won from being in front and from behind so I’ve done it both ways. You just try to get yourself in contention with nine holes to go, give yourself a chance to win.
“It’s been quite the journey. I finished second in France last week, flew back to St Louis on Monday to try to qualify for the Champions Tour, shot 68, missed by one, hopped on a plane at five o’clock to fly back here on Tuesday afternoon.”
Last week’s winner Thomas Levet, England’s DJ Russell, Austria’s Markus Brier and Sweden’s Joakim Haeggman share fifth place on three under par, while English duo Jim Payne and Jonathan Lomas, South Africa’s James Kingston and tournament host Paul Lawrie are a shot further back in a tie for ninth place.