EVERY DOAK WILL HAVE HIS DAY; Capone Chants and Parping Pooches but Chris Is on Song at Castle Stuart

Daily Mail (London), July 13, 2013 | Go to article overview

EVERY DOAK WILL HAVE HIS DAY; Capone Chants and Parping Pooches but Chris Is on Song at Castle Stuart


Byline: JOHN GREECHAN Chief Sports Writer

THERE'S always plenty of potential for fun when Chris Doak is about. From tales of parping pooches disrupting his sleep -- more of which later -- to banter with rowdy US Open galleries likening the Scot to Al Capone, Greenock's finest golfer isn't so po-faced that he can't enjoy a bit of a laugh.

Ah, but when it comes to putting a score together out on the course, he's stone-cold serious. As you'd expect from a guy who worked his way up from the Tartan Tour. A player whose second successive round of 66 leaves him in a position to call all the shots at the Scottish Open.

With his flat cap and altogether old-fashioned look (hence the Capone references from the wiseguys at Merion last month), Doak is always going to stand out in an era of homogenised body shapes and head-to-toe clothing deals; there isn't a sponsor's or manufacturer's logo to be seen on his clobber.

However, while he might not appear quite as athletic as some of his contemporaries, there is an ease of movement about the 35-year-old. Especially when he's swinging the club as he has done for the first two days here at Castle Stuart.

The fact that Doak seems such an ordinary bloke, talking about taking the train home tomorrow because fiancee Laura has taken their disruptive pooch away in the car, shouldn't take away from the fact that he's sitting on 12-underpar at a European Tour event. That is proper elite-level achievement.

Coached by Bob Torrance and helped by a mystery mind guru who has strengthened the mental side of his game, the former Challenge Tour regular insists he's good enough to maintain the form of his opening 36 holes. Which would give him at least a slugger's chance of ending our 14-year wait for a home win in this event.

Might the thought of winning half-a-million quid and earning a late spot in next week's Open Championship provide a distraction? No more so than notorious pet mongrel Benji, who infamously kept Doak up all night when he competed in a Challenge Tour event just down the road in Aviemore a couple of years ago.

'Aye, you called it the parping pooch, didn't you?' he said to reporters, with a laugh. 'Aye, thanks for that.

'The dog was up with us this week but my wife-to-be had to go back down the road, so she took the dog. She left the basket, though, so I'll have to take that back on the train with me.

'I am going back on the train, yes. Well, she's got the car, so I'll have to. If I've got a trophy? Hmm, maybe I'll need to speak nicely to the courtesy car people.' There's every chance that some plucky volunteer will have to run Doak the 200 miles or so down the road tomorrow night. He looked in real trouble no more than twice yesterday, finding balls that he thought might have been lost and scrambling for par on each occasion, while the only dropped shot came from a bit of sloppiness at the par-three 17th; amends were swiftly made with a birdie at the last.

As for whether or not he looked tense at any stage, there was a kind of old-style calmness about everything the Scot did. He's got a great waggle at address, a real quirk in a swing that is quite fluid.

When playing partner Andrew Dodt was really struggling yesterday, including losing two tee shots on the par-five 12th, Doak just ambled along and made a brilliant eagle to put himself bang in contention for the biggest pay day of his career . …

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