Ryan Oâ€™Neill will take a three-stroke lead into the final round of the Clipper Logistics Championship at Moor Allerton Golf Club on Friday, as he bids to make it into the top 60 on the 888poker.com PGA EuroPro Tour Order of Merit.
The Wigan golfer celebrated his 25th birthday with a six-under-par 65 to top the leaderboard on ten under after 36 holes. Billy Hemstock, Ruaidhri McGee, and Greg Payne share second on seven under.
The Clipper Logistics Championship is the final event of the regular schedule, after which only the top 60 will be invited to play the 888poker.com Tour Championship at Princeâ€™s next month. Oâ€™Neill (Penwortham Golf Club) is currently 93rd on the Order of Merit and knows he is likely to need a top-five finish to earn his place in the season finale.
â€œI need a really good finish as the season hasnâ€™t gone to plan as yet,â€ he said. â€œI have done the maths and it is doable so we will have to wait and see.
â€œMy putting has been really good so far this week. Hopefully it continues as the greens are tricky. There are some slopes in there so if you can get on the right side of the green with your approach you can be a bit more aggressive with the putts.
â€œYou have to pick your lines and go for it. You have to attack the pins enough because it is soft and you can get it relatively close. You have to be on the right side of the green – that is the key.
â€œI always go in to tournaments thinking I will do well but it doesnâ€™t always happen that way. You can feel good about your game but sometimes something just doesnâ€™t click.
â€œIt can be hard to keep focussed on your job when it isnâ€™t quite going for you, it can be frustrating. I came here for a practice round last week and that has definitely helped.
â€œI took golf up quite seriously when I was released by Wigan Athletic Football Club when I was 16. I have always loved playing golf and played as a hobby from about 13.â€
A cut to the leading 50 players plus ties has now been made with all golfers whose 36-hole score is one over par or better proceeding to play the final round on Friday, September 27.
Spectator entry to the event is free throughout the week and a two-hour highlights show will be broadcast at 8pm on Sky Sports 3 on Tuesday, October 8, repeated four times on Wednesday, October 9.