Former champ moves into contention

Australia’s Noel Ratcliffe and Argentina’s Luis Carbonetti share the lead heading into the final round of the AIB Irish Seniors Open at The Heritage, Killenard.

Australia’s Noel Ratcliffe and Argentina’s Luis Carbonetti share the lead heading into the final round of the AIB Irish Seniors Open at The Heritage, Killenard.

Former champion Ratcliffe, 60, carded a day’s-best four-under 68 to set the pace on five under par and he was later joined by Carbonetti, who added a 68 to his opening 70.

The duo go into the final round two shots ahead Scotland’s John Chillas and Japan’s Seiji Ebihara and four in front of Scotland’s Sam Torrance, Trinidad and Tobago’s Alan Mew and English rookie Kevin Spurgeon.

Ireland’s Des Smyth battled his way back into contention with a one-under 71 which saw him finish on level par in a share of eighth place alongside Canada’s Bruce Heuchan, Scotland’s Bill Longmuir and overnight leader Jim Rhodes

“It was tough out there,” said Ratcliffe, who won this event in 2003 and finished third behind England’s Carl Mason.

“I don’t know what it is about Ireland but I always seem to play well over here. It must be something in the water.”

One of the best rounds of the day came from former Ryder Cup star Neil Coles who came within one shot of matching his age with a 71 which saw him finish four-over.

Denis O’Sullivan was the leading Irishman after posting a first-round 71 but he had to withdraw before starting his second round after becoming unwell.

He was taken to a local hospital as a precautionary measure but was released after undergoing a series of tests.

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