Brian Keogh at San Roque
The don’t call it “The Wailing Wall” for nothing but the giant leaderboard made pleasant reading for stablemates Colm Moriarty and Stephen Browne as they survived the 72 hole cut on the limit to continue their quest for a coveted European Tour card at The San Roque Club.
Paired together for today’s fifth round, the Irish duo compiled their one-over par 289 aggregates in vastly differing manners as Browne racked up five birdies in the space of six holes at the New Course for a second successive 70 while Moriarty limped gratefully over the line on the Old Course after dropping three shots in his last four holes for a disappointing 75.
Ireland’s Damian Mooney, Peter O’Keeffe and Michael McGeady; Ryder Cup players Andrew Coltart and Joakim Haeggman and ex US Amateur champion Richie Ramsay all packed their bags for home.
But Browne and Moriarty are relishing the chance to step out together today and close the three-shot gap on the top 30 and ties who will pocket their tour cards after tomorrow’s sixth round.
“Momentum is on my side now,” said Browne, who birdied the 16th, 18th, first, second and third in a golden spell midway through his round. “But where it really turned was yesterday, not playing well on the front nine and being able to turn my score around and shoot 70.
“I have come from quite a long way behind in two days from 120th to 60th. That's a big move and I have fewer sports to move up now. Hopefully I can get myself right in the mix and feel the squeeze.
"I hate playing when there is nothing on the line. I love when you have to perform. This is what you play golf for. You want to be under pressure because it means you are playing well.”
South Africa’s Thomas Aiken (68) and Spain's Pablo Larrazabal (70) lead by two shots from Welshman Sion Bebb on 10 under par while England’s Lee Slattery, who missed his card by just €77 this season, carded an eight under par 64 on the New Course to move into a seven-way tie for fourth place on seven under par.
Belfast man Mooney needed a 66 to make the cut but after playing the front nine in three under par, he double bogeyed the 10th and bogeyed the 11th on the New Course to finish six shots outside the top 70 and ties on seven-over par after a level par 72.
“There is a self-destruct button in there somewhere,” Mooney said. “But the positive thing is that I am here when many guys aren't. On previous occasions I never felt I belonged here, but I felt more comfortable than ever this year.”
O’Keeffe (75) went away disappointed with his performance but pleased with his progression this season while McGeady (77) confessed that he needs to work on his fitness after finishing 154th in the 156 man field on 17-over par
“The agony is over,” McGeady said. “I didn't play well and used up everything I had in the tank at PQ2 last week. I never got it going at all - not even once. It’s back to the drawing board.”