Irish trio face nervous final round at Q-School

Irish trio face nervous final round at Q-School
Jonny Caldwell

Clandeboye’s Jonny Caldwell moved inside the magical top 25 and Niall Kearney and Gavin Moynihan are lurking in the chasing pack heading into what promises to be a nerve-tingling final round of the European Tour Qualifying School Final Stage in Spain.

Caldwell (35) bogeyed the par-three 17th at Lumine Golf Club to fall out of the top 25 and ties, who will all win European Tour playing privileges when play finishes in Tarragona tomorrow.

But he made a two-putt birdie four at the 18th on the Lakes Course to card a two-under 69 and go into the final day of the six-round marathon tied for 25th on nine-under-par.

“I played great,” Caldwell said. “I missed two greens all day, and after plugging in the front bunker at the 17th, it was nice to finish with a two-putt birdie.”

The 2007 Walker Cup star believes he will be safe if he can shoot 67 and get to 13-under.

But Kearney, 31, is not setting a scoring target, despite carding a bogey-free, four-under 67 that left him just one stroke outside the top 25 in joint 33rd on eight-under.

“I was so relaxed, and I played great,” said the Dubliner, who knows anything can happen as he makes his fourth appearance at the Final Stage since 2009.

“I’m not really setting targets. My goal is just to try to bring the same ‘nothing to lose, everything to gain’ mindset into tomorrow.”

Moynihan, 25, made three birdies in a two-under 69 to move up to 47th on six-under-par and knows he will have to go lower tomorrow to win his European Tour privileges for the third year running.

“I haven’t hit it close enough all week, even though I have made plenty of birdies,” Moynihan said. “But I’ve driven the ball class all week and have had so many opportunities.

“Hopefully something special happens tomorrow. I’ll go for every pin, but whatever happens, my game is in a much better place than it was in mid-summer.”

With 22 players within three shots of the all-important 25th position, the final day promises to go right down to the wire.

Denmark’s Benjamin Poke posted a two-under-par 69 to lead by two strokes on 18-under-par from Finland’s Sami Valimaki, with Frenchman Adrien Saddier and India’s SSP Chawrasia both a shot further back.

The biggest mover of the day was five-time European Tour winner Darren Fichardt of South Africa, who posted a seven-under-par 64 to move from the cut-line into a tie for 16th place on 11-under.

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