The sun finally arrived at the La Cala Resort in Malaga for the Ivobank PGA EuroPro Tour Ladbrokescasino.com Masters – and Daniel Brooks, Jason Kelly and Adam Frayne took full advantage with rounds of 65.
The first day of the tournament was washed out by torrential rain on Tuesday (September 23) so the final event before the Top 60 tackle Les Bordes in France for the Tour Championships had to be reduced to a 36-hole affair.
Frayne (St Mellion, pictured) had a poor start from the tenth going bogey-par-bogey, but picked up three birdies from the 14th and another at 18 to go out down the back two under, then strung five birdies together from the fourth after dropping a shot at the first to shoot seven under. That was matched by Brooks (Mill Hill), who bogeyed the first but recovered in fine style with eight birdies and Kelly (Wentworth), who dropped just one shot in his round of 65 with six birdies and an eagle at the seventh.
Andrew Pestell (Chelmsford GC) is just one stroke behind the leading trio in fourth place after shooting three under on both front and back nines for a round of 66. Tim Rice (Limerick) joins Pestell at six under thanks to a burst of three birdies in his last five holes.
Paul Doherty and Alan Murray are two shots behind at five under, although Murray (Greystones GC) will hope he doesn’t rue taking seven on the par four third to spoil a round with eight birdies. Doherty (Vale Hotel) started on the back nine and was three under before a double bogey on 17, but four unanswered birdies on the front nine coming in means he is right in the mix for the final round. Joining them is Mark Staunton (Black Bush GC) who started serenely on the back nine with two birdies. The Irishman had an eventful front nine where two further birdies sandwiched a bogey before an eagle on the seventh shot him up the leaderboard. A birdie at 18 was the seventh of the round for Adam Scallon (Brocket Hall) and enough for him to shoot 67 for a share of fifth spot. John Parry (Harrogate GC) makes it five at five under with six birdies in all in his first round.
Life at four under (68) is pretty crowded, Paul Hendriksen (Fingle Glen GC), Mark Ramsdale (Formby GC), Ian Keenan (Royal Liverpool), Matthew McGuire (SDPGC), Roderick Bastard (Marbella GC), George Cowan (Westerhope), Simon Thornton (Royal County Down), Tom Haylock (GCL Ground Construction) all finding themselves three shots off the lead.
Three under (69) is also well populated with Cennydd Mills (ValeHotel.com), Mark Laskey (The Shire), Matthew Ford (Marriott Tudor Park), Colin Roope (wstore.co.uk), Graham Gordon (SWM Golf Management), Glyn Bateman (Royal Eastbourne) and George Woolgar (Capitalservices.com) going into the final round with a far from insurmountable four shot deficit.
Co-leader Kelly is currently 60th in the Order of Merit and has all but secured his place in France. Doherty (70th), Scallon (74th) and Staunton (84th) will also feel confident that they will be at the Tour Championships while Rice (107th) will be looking for a high finish to make the trip to the Loire Valley finale – he came to Spain just under £1,000 behind the Top 60.
As well as the race to make the Top 60, this is a key event at the very top of the Order of Merit and the door has been opened with five of the top ten missing the cut. Money list leader Noel Fox, fourth place Lloyd Kennedy and sixth spot Daniel Gaunt all missed the cut by a stroke at level par, while second placed Dale Marmion (Eaton) had a day to forget after shooting 82 and Jamie Harris (Nevill) will not be able to make ground from eighth place after a 76. Alan Murray looks best placed at five under to challenge Fox and Marmion, sitting £2,600 adrift of top spot in third.
52 players made the one under cut and play in the final round of the Ladbrokescasino.com Masters will begin at 7.30am UK time (8.30am local time) – live scoring on the final round is available by clicking on the Score Updates link on the homepage.
Date Posted: 25/09/08, 7.15pm (UK time)