Gavin Moynihan surged back into contention to win his European Tour card on a good day for the Irish at the Final Stage of the Qualifying School in Spain.
The Dubliner (24) fired six birdies in a five under par 67 in yesterday’s third round and moved up 19 places to tied 13th, just a shot outside the top 10.
After finishing 19th on the Challenge Tour this year, the Mount Juliet touring professional will get up to a dozen European Tour starts in 2018.
But a top 10 finish after six rounds at Lumine Golf Club would make him eligible for twice as many events next season and he was pleased with his round on the Hills Course yesterday, one of two venues being used for this week’s marathon, 108-hole test.
“It could have been a bit better but it was a good day,” said Moynihan, who is just six shots behind England’s Laurie Canter who also shot 67 on the Hills course to lead by a shot from compatriots Sam Horsfield and Ben Evans on 13-under-par.
“I have three rounds on the Lakes Course to try and make the top 10. It was a good day and I played nicely.”
Winds gusting up to 140 kph buffeted the Catalan coast overnight but while they had abated to just 35kph by morning, Moynihan still hit a five iron more than 260 yards with his first swing of the day.
In the end, there was no more than a 15mph breeze to trouble the 152 players remaining in the field and scoring was red-hot with the cut off for the top 70 and ties who will make the cut after today’s fourth round standing at one-under par.
While Moynihan struggled early in his round and was one over after five holes, he holed a bunker shot for a birdie at the sixth and never looked back.
“That really kick-started the round and I played lovely on the back nine and could have been a bit better,” said Moynihan, who birdied the seventh to turn in 35 before racing home in 32 by following a hat-trick of birdies from the 12th with a two-putt birdie after a glorious three wood found the heart of the 16th green.
“It was much better than yesterday. There was less wind and I was more comfortable with my yardages and the flight of the ball.
“It gives me a chance for the next few rounds because it was a much more positive day and I holed a few nice putts on the back nine.”
It was a good day for all four Irish with Moynihan’s former Walker Cup teammate Cormac Sharvin making a badly needed move up the leaderboard.
A four-under-par 67 on the Lakes Course leaves the 25-year-old from Ardglass tied for 86th on one-over-par with Derry’s Ruaidhri McGee, who shot a 70 at the same track.
“It’s nice to post a score,” said Sharvin, who is two strokes outside the top 70 and seven shots outside the all-important top 25.
“The first few days were frustrating because I was playing so nicely, so it was nice to post a decent round today and get myself back in it.
“Three good rounds to finish and you have a chance to get your European Tour card, so that’s the goal.”
Ballymena’s Dermot McElroy shot a two-under 69 on the Lakes Course and while Sharvin and McGee may have enough with 69s on the Hills today to make the cut, he’s tied for 121st on four-over and knows he needs “a low one” to move into the top 70.
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