On a day when the afternoon starters were battered by heavy rain and a bitterly cold north east wind that gusted over 25 mph, the 21-year old from Naas carded a two under 70 to lead on five under par from Welshman Evan Griffith (72) with 17-year old Kevin LeBlanc from The Island three behind in third after posting his second 71 of the week early the day.
“I’m just delighted,” said Walker Cup hopeful Hume, who was two over par after three holes and facing decimation before he dug deep to play the remaining 15 holes in four under par.
“Anything under 76 this afternoon was a good score to be honest. It was just awful. It felt like January. It has to be one of the best rounds I’ve ever played — probably the best.
“I was two over after three holes and to play the rest in four under from there was pretty good going because it was freezing and my hands were numb from the fifth or sixth onwards.”
Winner of all four provincial Boys titles in 2010 before claiming the West of Ireland Championship last year, Hume bogeyed the first and third but then played superbly for the rest of the round, mixing brilliant birdies with incredible par saves.
After holing an 18 footer for a two at the fourth, he saved par with a chip and putt at the fifth, birdied the par-five sixth thanks to a five iron three to 12 feet before ea bogey at the eighth saw him turn in one over 36.
He stocky, plus four handicap international then navigated the largely downwind back nine in three under 34 after a frustrating run of four missed birdies chances in a row from the 10th.
“It was nice to birdie the 14th from 10 feet and then I made a great chip and putt par from about 50 yards back into the win on 15,” added Hume, who birdied the 16th from six feet at the 17th from 18th feet before two putting for a safe par at the last.
Earlier in the day, Hume’s fellow Naas clubman Jonathan Yates added a 71 to his opening 72 to share fourth place on one under 143 with a string of title favourites including Ardglass’ Cormac Sharvin (71).
Former winner Gavin Moynihan from The Island also produced an afternoon miracle, battling back from seven over after 10 holes to post a 76 that leaves him just six off the pace on one over.
Cork’s John Hickey (75), West Waterford’s Gary Hurley (76) and Rosslare’s Gary Collins (77) are tied for 29th, eight off the pace on three over with the top 50 and ties tonight making the cut.