Waterford Castle’s Kevin Phelan produced a sensational back nine to haul himself into position to make the four-round cut and challenge for a European Tour card at the Final Stage of the Qualifying School at PGA Catalunya Resort.
The 23-year old, who turned professional after this year’s Walker Cup, dropped two shots on the front nine on the easier Stadium Course to slip outside the Top 70 and ties who will make the cut after Wednesday’s fourth round. Leaderboard
But an eagle three at the 10th, followed by birdies at the 14th and 18th in a scorching homeward nine of 31 gave him a 68 that left him tied with Rosapenna’s Ruaidhri McGee, who slipped to a two over 72, on four under par.
The pair are tied for 32nd place, just two shots outside the top 25 and ties who will earn European Tour cards after six rounds.
Tied for eighth place overnight, McGee got to within two shots of the lead following birdies at his first two holes on the Tour Course.
But a triple bogey seven at the 12th, his third, followed by a bogey at the next left him facing a long day at the Girona resort.
He steadied the ship with 10 straight pars before following a birdie at the sixth with a bogey six at the seventh.
Like Phelan, he returns to the Stadium Course on Wednesday where he will be gunning for a sub-par that would put him inside the card positions with two rounds to go on the tougher of the two courses.
Waterville’s David Higgins will also go again at the Stadium Course but he has work to do after a disappointing, two over 72 on the Tour Course left him just inside the Top-70 on level par.
Ballymena amateur Dermot McElroy has the toughest task of the Irish quartet after a four over 76 on the Stadium Course left him tied for 102nd on four over.
Starting on the back nine, the 20-year old Irish international made two early birdies to move inside the Top-70 but then racked up a triple bogey seven at the dangerous 14th for the second day running.
Two birdies and three bogeys followed in the next eight holes before he double bogeyed the sixth to may need to shoot a 66 at worst on the par-70 Tour Course to make the cut.
At the business end of the leaderboard, England’s James Morrison climbed into a share of the lead thanks to a best-of-the-day 63 on the Tour Course.
The 28 year old Surrey native defied swirling winds to post eight birdies and just the one bogey to join Sweden’s Jens Dantorp (68) on 10 under par.
With the top half of the field all playing the Tour Course in round three, South American pair of Estanislao Goya and Fabrizio Zanotti both shot three under 67s to share third spot on nine under at the halfway stage of the gruelling, six-round test.
A host of European Tour winners are struggling to make the cut, however, including Oliver Fisher (two over), Phillip Price (three over), Rhys Davies and Jose Manuel Lara (four over) and Sweden’s Peter Hedblom (five over).
England’s Nick Dougherty and Pablo Martin (six over), Sweden’s Johan Edfors and Austria’s Markus Brier (seven over) are in serious trouble while former European Open winner Kenneth Ferrie looks certain to miss out on 11 over.
European Tour Qualifying School, Final Stage (PGA Catalunya Resort, Stadium Course Par 72, Tour Course Par 70).
NB – Due to a technical error, individual rounds scores do not show, only aggregate scores.
202 J Dantorp (Swe); J Morrison (Eng);
203 F Zanotti (Par); E Goya (Arg);
204 G Lockerbie (Eng); S Wakefield (Eng); J Doherty (Sco); L Bjerregaard (Den); D Kemmer (USA); O Stark (Swe);
205 M Tullo (Chi); B Stone (RSA); J Hahn (USA); E Espana (Fra); R Finch (Eng); E Kofstad (Nor); D Brooks (Eng); A Forsyth (Sco); P Sjöland (Swe);
206 A Hartø (Den); A Saddier (Fra); W Ormsby (Aus); M Jonzon (Swe); M Lafeber (Ned); S Manley (Wal);
207 M Lundberg (Swe); C Paisley (Eng); A Gee (Eng); K Pratt (Aus); C Del Moral (Esp);
208 R McGee (Irl) 70 66 72; G Stal (Fra); M Crespi (Ita); F Andersson Hed (Swe); M Korhonen (Fin); H Leon (Chi); S Hodgson (Eng); K Phelan (Irl) 73 67 68;
209 B Paolini (USA); M Lorenzo-Vera (Fra); J Lagergren (Swe); B Dredge (Wal); A McArthur (Sco); T Van Der Walt (RSA); T Whitehouse (Eng); A Johnston (Eng); T Pieters (Bel); C Shinkwin (am) (Eng);
210 J Lando Casanova (Fra); D McGuigan (Sco); J Knutzon (USA); O Wilson (Eng); J Barnes (Eng); J Elson (Eng); J Heath (Eng); J Huldahl (Den);
211 O Floren (Swe); J Fahrbring (Swe); A Marshall (Eng); B Henson (USA); A Björk (Swe);
212 L Gagli (Ita); T Lee (USA); K Horne (RSA); D Dixon (Eng); J Watts (Eng); A Domingo (Esp); D Higgins (Irl) 67 73 72;
213 M Delpodio (Ita); A Haig (RSA); C Arendell (USA) ; N Quintarelli (Ita); E Dubois (Fra); J Robinson (Eng) ; D Gavins (Eng); O Fisher (Eng); G Wright (Wal);
214 A Dodt (Aus); C Bouniol (Fra); Z Scotland (Eng); W Harrold (Eng); J Guerrier (Fra); C Hanson (Eng);
215 P Price (Wal); D Im (USA); V Phillips (Eng); N Lemke (Swe); A Garcia-Heredia (Esp); M Grönberg (Swe); R Karlberg (Swe); M Hensby (Aus);
216 P Edberg (Swe); C Ortiz (Mex); W Besseling (Ned); G Murray (Sco); B Åkesson (Swe); J Lucquin (Fra) ; P Archer (Eng) ; A McLardy (RSA);
217 B Evans (Eng); M Wiegele (Aut); S Henry (Sco); N Nissen (Den);
218 M Zions (Aus); Y Tsukada (Jpn); T Nørret (Den); R Davies (Wal); T Sluiter (Ned); O Lieser (Cze); D Vancsik (Arg); J Lara (Esp); C Monasterio (Arg); K Benz (Sui); D McElroy (am) (Nir) 68 74 76;
219 J Rask (Swe); B Ritthammer (Ger); C Suneson (Esp); P Hedblom (Swe); B An (Kor); M Orrin (Eng);
220 A Maestroni (Ita); J Ahlers (RSA); J Sjöholm (Swe); N Dougherty (Eng); N Fenwick (Sco); P Martin Benavides (Esp); D Stewart (Sco);
221 J Edfors (Swe); G Cambis (Fra); R Russell (Sco); J Timmis (Eng); F Fritsch (Ger); S Arnold (Aus); M Brier (Aut);
222 R Steiner (Aut); R Pettersson (Swe); D Ulrich (Sui); G Main (USA);
223 O Henningsson (Swe); A Bernadet (Fra); L Bond (Wal); O Bekker (RSA); S Drummond (Sco);
224 J Fly (USA);
225 N Ravano (Ita); K Ferrie (Eng); T Linard (Fra);
226 J Granberg (Fin); L Goddard (Eng);
229 R McGowan (Eng);
230 E Cole (USA);
234 C Dammert (am) (Ger);
WD A Kaleka (Fra); I Garrido (Esp); J Bäckström (Swe);
RET D Popovic (Aus) RT.