Tramore’s Robin Dawson agonisingly missed the 72-hole cut by a shot, but three Irishmen still have a chance to win precious European Tour cards at the Qualifying School Final Stage in Spain.
As Dawson shot a one-under 70 on the Lakes course to finish a shot outside the mark on three-under, Clandeboye’s Jonny Caldwell fired a four-under 67 to leap to tied 30th on seven-under par with two rounds to play at Lumine Golf Club in Tarragona.
Michael Hoey fell victim to illness in round two (when he shot 79) and missed the four-under-par cut by 11 strokes,
But the dream is still alive for Caldwell and for Royal Dublin’s Niall Kearney and The Island’s Gavin Moynihan, who made the final 36 holes on the mark to secure strong Challenge Tour cards.
Moynihan is bidding to win his card at the Final Stage of the 108-hole Q-School marathon for the third year in a row.
But he admitted he cut it fine in Tarragona yesterday when he came to the par-five 18th at the Lakes Course on three-under-par, believing a closing par would be enough to make the cut.
“I hit a terrible second shot to the 18th that went way right but I pitched to 12 feet and made the putt for birdie,” Moynihan said after signing for a three-under 68.
“I didn’t realise until I got to the green that I had to make it. I thought the cut was going to be three-under.
“It’s great to make it because I have made some terrible mistakes over the last few days. At least I am still there, but I am just going to have to go for everything over the next two days and make something on the greens.”
He is tied for 61st with Kearney, 31, who made six birdies in a three-under 69 on the tricky Hills Course to secure full Challenge Tour card.
“I am really pleased to get through today,” said Kearney, who has played mainly on the PGA Europro Tour this year.
“It was pretty tense out there, but it is great to have some status in the bag going into the last two rounds.
Five-time European Tour winner Hoey was disappointed to fall ill on Saturday but he’s happy for his Irish colleagues and believes all three have an excellent chance now. “I was in agony on Saturday and had to take so much medication, the timing could not have been worse,” Hoey said after closing with a one-under 71 at the Hills to finish on seven-over.
“The scoring has not been as low as other years with the cold weather and the pins tucked, but I think the guys have a good chance now.”
Overnight leader Benjamin Poke of Denmark posted a four-under par 67 on the Lakes Course to lead by three strokes on 16-under par from Korea’s Jinho Choi, SSP Chawrasia from India and Finland’s Sami Valimaki.
But Caldwell, who partnered Rory McIlroy in the 2007 Walker Cup, is nicely placed on seven-under after rounds of 71, 69, 72 and 67.
"I have to say my putting has been great,” said 35-year old Caldwell, 35, who has been in excellent form on the Europro Tour this year. “Tee to green has been good but making the putts makes everything easier.
“I have a great opportunity over next couple of days to freewheel and see if I can snatch one of those cards.”