|-7 R Bland (Eng), C Hill (Sco), R MacIntyre (Sco); -6 J Harding (SA), J Guerrier (Fra), E Pepperell (Eng); -5 Mr Pavon (Fra)|
|Selection of others:-4 D Coupland (Eng), R Mansell (Eng), L Slattery (Eng), J Smith Eng), A Sullivan (Eng); -3 L Canter (Eng), P Dunne (Ire), J Morrison (Eng), R Ramsay (Sco), M Schwab (Aut), D Willett (Eng); Wood C (Eng)|
Robert MacIntyre justified his position as pre-tournament favorite by claiming a halfway share at the British Masters at Belfry.
The 24-year-old Scotsman shot a 66th round in the second round to finish seven under par with compatriot Calum Hill (70) and veteran England Richard Bland (69).
MacIntyre birdied the first four holes on his way to his six-under par.
“It could have been a crazy score – I missed a lot of chances again, but that’s golf,” he said.
“If I can shoot 66-66 on the weekend playing like this, you’d take that.”
MacIntyre insisted he didn’t feel the pressure to be the top-ranked player in the field at the first European Tour event to be held in Great Britain this year.
“After that I’m going to hit a few balls, maybe call room service, and then I’ll take my PlayStation wherever I go, so I’ll be on it for a few hours with my buddies,” he said.
“I’m sorry for the people who are next to me [in the hotel] because it’s half past eleven at night, no matter what time I leave, and I’m roaring with my buddies on my headphones. “
The rhythm trio are one step ahead of 2018 winner Englishman Eddie Pepperell, Frenchman Julien Guerrier and South African Justin Harding.
At 48, Bland is twice MacIntyre’s age and admits it would be a dream come true if he could win his first European Tour event on the 478th attempt at such a famous venue.
“It would mean anything, especially at my age,” said Bland, who has yet to record a single bogey on the Brabazon course.
“Of course we are all here to win and, if I could do it at an event as iconic as the British Masters, it would be all of your Christmases coming up at the same time I think.”
Tournament host Danny Willett was four strokes behind after a 72, with the former Masters champion dropping three strokes in his last four holes.
First round leader Matthias Schwab had a second round of 75 to leave the Austrian four strokes behind the leaders.