American Uihlein inches away from European Tour's first 59

REUTERS - American Peter Uihlein went agonisingly close to posting the first 59 in European Tour history during the second round of the Dunhill Links Championship in Scotland on Friday.

The 24-year-old narrowly missed a 25-foot eagle putt on his last hole at Kingsbarns, one of three courses being used at the pro-am event, and had to settle for a 12-under-par 60 and a 13-under tally of 131.

"I gave it a go, hit a good putt," he told reporters after sprinting to within two strokes of tournament leader Tom Lewis of Britain. "I thought the putt would come back to the right at the end but it kept going left.

"All in all it was a good day and I am very pleased. It was just one of those days when everything just seemed to go in," added Uihlein who claimed his maiden European Tour victory at the Madeira Islands Open in May.

There had been 16 previous rounds of 60 on the tour, the most recent by American Brandt Snedeker in the WGC-Champions Tournament in China in November.

Uihlein's effort came 14 days after compatriot Jim Furyk became the sixth member of the '59 club' on the U.S. PGA Tour following a 12-under round at the BMW Championship in Lake Forest, Illinois.

Ernie Els, who partnered Uihlein at Kingsbarns, carded a 65 for 134. "I feel like I shot 90," joked the South African after finishing five strokes off the pace.

Englishman Lewis, winner of the 2011 Portugal Masters, returned a 65 at St Andrews to take a one-shot lead over Dutchman Joost Luiten (63).

Uihlein was in joint third spot alongside British quartet Richard McEvoy, Tommy Fleetwood, Mark Foster and Oliver Wilson and South African Hennie Otto.

(Writing by Tony Jimenez; editing by Ken Ferris)

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