Peter Martin headed straight for the range despite taking a one-stroke lead into the final round of the weather-reduced PGA Irish Championship at Mount Juliet.
The 35-year old from Belfast, who led by two strokes overnight, got off to a flyign start at the Thomastown venue when he birdied the first, fourth, sixth and eighth to turn in a sensational 32.
But his lack of tournament play this year caught up with him on the way home and after visiting water for a double bogey six at the 13th and then dropping another shot heading into the wind at the tough 18th, he signed for a one under 71 that left him just one shot clear of Clontar’s Eamonn Brady (70) and former tour regular Gary Murphy (70).
“I would have taken it before I went out” Martin said before heading for the range where he planned “to hit a few balls and get my rhythm back and take it into tomorrow.”
He wasn’t the only player to struggle on the back nine and playing partner David Higgins, who is poised to win the Order of Merit, also had a rollercoaster day.
The Waterville man, who will tee it up at Stage Two of the European Tour Qualifying School next month, birdied the second and then aced the par-three third to get to within a shot of Martin on five under par.
He mixed three birdies with three bogeys in the next 14 holes but then racked up a triple bogey seven at the 18th for a 72 that leaves him four shots off the pace and tied for seventh on two under.
Joint second overnight, Brady shot a two-under 70 to finish a shot off the lead on five under before Kilkenny natie Murphy, runner up in the Championship to Paul McGinley in 2003 and Simon Thornton last year, posted a 69 to join the Clontarf professional in joint second.
Brady described his 70, which featured three birdies and one bogey, as a “lot more solid” than his opening 69, when he had an eagle and five birdies, but also a double bogey and two bogeys.
Currently working to attain his PGA qualifications at Laytown and Bettystown, Murphy dropped his only shot of the day at the par-three 11th as he picked off birdies at the fourth, fifth, 14th and 17th.
An impressive six under for the eight par fives so far this week, the Baltray resident will be keen to add his name to the list of Irish PGA champions.
Massereene’s Noel Murray is just two behind after two fine 70s with Limerick’s Cian McNamara and Royal Dublin member Neil O Briain carding 69s to lurk just three behind.
Martin will be under pressure from the start on Sunday with no fewer than 10 players within four shots of his lead including Higgins, John Dywer, Seamus McMonagle, Enda McLoughlin and John Kelly, who are all tied for seventh on two under.
102nd PGA Irish Championship, Mount Juliet Golf Club (Par 72)
Prize fund €30,000, Winner €3,500
After 36 holes
138 Peter Martin (Riverside Golf Academy) 67 71
139 Eamonn Brady (Clontarf) 69 70, Gary Murphy (Laytown & Bettystown) 70 69
140 Noel Murray (Massereene) 70 70,
141 Cian McNamara (Limerick) 72 69, Neil O’Briain 72 69
142 David Higgins (Waterville Golf Links) 70 72, John Dwyer (Ashbourne) 71 71, Seamus McMonagle (Dunfanaghy) 70 72, Enda McLoughlin (Wicklow) 70 72, John Kelly (St Margaret’s Golf & CC) 69 73
143 James Roche (Gorey DR) 72 71, Glen Robinson (St Helen’s Bay Golf Resort) 70 73, Brendan McGovern (Headfort) 72 71,
145 Peter Jones (Coollattin) 73 72, Jerry Scullion (Kilkeel) 73 72, Damian Mooney (Ballyliffin) 72 73, Patrick Devine (Royal Dublin) 73 72, Wayne O’Callaghan (Wayneocallaghangolf.com) 70 75, Tim Rice (76 69), Mark O’Sullivan (Ashbourne) 73 72, John Dolan (Ballybofey & Stranorlar) 75 70
146 Barrie Trainor 69 77, David Reilly (Westmanstown) 73 73, Philip Walton 72 74, David Ryan (Cahir Park) 75 71, Ian Kerr (Bunclody Golf & Fishing Club) 75 71
147 David Jones (Bushfoot) 72 75, Enda Maguire (Dundalk) 74 73, John McDermott (Grange) 76 71, Michael Allan (Pure Golf Leopardstown) 73 74, Niall Kearney (Royal Dublin) 74 73, Peter O’Keeffe (Muskerry) 72 75, Michael Collins (Mallow Golf Range) 73 74,
148 Kevin McGivern (Mannan Castle) 71 77, John Murray (Malahide) 72 76, David Mortimer (Galway) 73 75, Leslie Walker (Dundalk) 74 74, Donal Gleeson (Old Conna) 77 71, Mark Staunton (Ballinasloe) 71 77,
149 Daniel Beattie 76 73, John Dignam (Slade Valley) 77 72, Gary Madden (Bearna Golf & Country Club) 71 78, James Quinlivan (Mullingar) 75 74
150 David Hughes (Massereene) 77 73, Gary Wardlow (American Golf) 76 74, Mark O’Mahony (Titleist National Fitting Centre) 71 79, Melvyn Flanagan (Mount Temple) 73 77, Tony O’Regan (Carton House) 75 75, Peter McClelland (Peter McClelland Golf) 74 76, Stephen Galvin (Curragh) 73 77, Michael McDermott (Pure Golf Leopardstown) 75 75, Darren Walsh (Wexford) 73 77, Gareth McCausland (Ballyliffin) 73 77
Missed the cut (details to come)
Greg Massey Hermitage Golf Club +7
David Foley Dromoland Castle GC +7
Eddie Doyle Natural Golf School +7
Gerry Burke Curragh Golf Club +7
Ted Higgins Mount Wolseley Golf & County C +8
Patrick Geraghty Druids Glen Golf Club +8
Darren McWilliams Blackwood Golf Centre +8
Michael O’Shea Callan Golf Club +9
Eoin O’Connor Kilkenny Golf Club +9
Daniel Sugrue Killarney Golf & Fishing Club +9
Ian St.John Carrick-on-Suir Golf Club +9
Seamus Clinton Letterkenny Golf Club +10
Bernard Quigley Carton House Golf Course +10
Derry Kiely Faithlegg Golf Club +10
Ryan Madigan Killiney Golf Club +10
Paul Masterson Coollattin Golf Club +10
William Noble County Cavan Golf Club +11
Peter O’Hagan PeterOHagan.com +11
John Sugrue Tralee Golf Club +11
Brian O’Donovan Douglas Golf Club +11
Graeme Dunlea Adare Manor Hotel & Golf Resor +11
Kenny Fahey GUI National Academy +11
Ian Colleran Athlone Golf Academy +12
Sean Cotter Mount Juliet Golf Club +12
Richard Creamer Tuam Golf Club +12
Patrick Sheehy Newcastle West Golf Club +13
Mark Cribben Carr Golf Services +13
Gregory Leech Lisheen Springs Golf Club +14
David Mooney Golf Graffix +14
Eoin Tobin Tipperary Golf Club +14
Jimmy Bolger Kilkenny Golf Club +14
Emmet Staunton Castleknock Golf Club +15
David Ruddy Cahir Park Golf Club +16
Joe Dillon Headfort Golf Club +17
Hugh Feeney Athlone Golf Club +17
Kevin Foy Stepaside Golf Centre +18
Conor McCormick Newcastle West Golf Club +20
Gavin Kavanagh Delgany Golf Club +21
Colin Farr Whitehead Golf Club +22
Jamie Walsh Charleville Golf Club +25
Graham Callaghan Hollywood Lakes Golf Club +26
Michael Hutchinson Lisburn Golf Club +29
WD Neil Manchip (GUI National Academy)
DQ Shane Deegan (Spawell Driving Range) ,Marc Kynes (Dargle View), Edward Doyle (Westmanstown), Kevin Morris (Fota Island)
RTD Robert Giles (Greenore), Eanna Jones (Nenagh)
67 Peter Martin (Riverside Golf Academy)
69 John Kelly (St Margaret’s Golf & CC), Barrie Trainor, Eamonn Brady (Clontarf)
70 Wayne O’Callaghan (Wayneocallaghangolf.com), Glen Robinson (St Helen’s Bay Golf Resort), Enda McLoughlin (Wicklow Golf Club), Gary Murphy (Laytown & Bettystown), Noel Murray (Massereene Golf Club), David Higgins (Waterville Golf Links), Seamus McMonagle (Dunfanaghy Golf Club)
71 Gary Madden (Bearna Golf & CC), Mark Staunton (Ballinasloe Golf Club), Kevin McGivern (Mannan Castle), Mark O’Mahony (Titleist National Fitting Centre), John Dwyer (Ashbourne GC), Cian McNamara (Limerick Golf Club),
72 Peter O’Keeffe (Muskerry), Neil O’Briain, Brendan McGovern (Headfort), David Jones (Bushfoot), James Roche (Gorey DR), John Murray (Malahide), Damian Mooney (Ballyliffin), Philip Walton
73 Darren Walsh (Wexford), Michael Allan (Pure Golf Leopardstown), Mark O’Sullivan (Ashbourne), Gareth McCausland (Ballyliffin), Michael Collins (Mallow GR), Jerry Scullion (Kilkeel), Peter Jones (Coollattin), David Reilly (Westmanstown), Melvyn Flanagan (Mount Temple), David Mortimer (Galway), Stephen Galvin (Curragh), Patrick Devine (Royal Dublin)
74 Mark Cribben (Carr Golf Services), Niall Kearney (Royal Dublin), Kenny Fahey (GUI National Academy), Darren McWilliams (Blackwood G Cent), David Foley (Dromoland Castle), Greg Massey (Hermitage), Enda Maguire (Dundalk), Peter McClelland (Peter McClelland Golf), Leslie Walker (Dundalk)
75 Michael McDermott (Pure Golf Leopardstown), David Ryan (Cahir Park), Ian Kerr (Bunclody Golf & Fishing Club), John Dolan (Ballybofey & Stranorlar), James Quinlivan (Mullingar), Ted Higgins (Mount Wolseley Golf & CC, Tony O’Regan (Carton House), John Sugrue (Tralee)
76 John McDermott (Grange), Brian O’Donovan (Douglas), Eoin O’Connor (Kilkenny), Daniel Sugrue (Killarney Golf & Fishing Club), Tim Rice, Seamus Clinton (Letterkenny), Gary Wardlow (American Golf), Daniel Beattie, , Eddie Doyle (Natural Golf School), Bernard Quigley (Carton House),
77 John Dignam (Slade Valley), Ryan Madigan (Killiney), Donal Gleeson (Old Conna), Paul Masterson (Coollattin), Ian St. John (Carrick-on-Suir), David Hughes (Massereene ), Michael O’Shea (Callan), William Noble (County Cavan), Shane Deegan (Spawell Driving Range), Peter O’Hagan (PeterOHagan.com ),
78 Sean Cotter (Mount Juliet), Gregory Leech (Lisheen Springs), Emmet Staunton (Castleknock), Patrick Geraghty (Druids Glen),
79 Ian Colleran (Athlone Golf Academy), Gerry Burke (Curragh), Derry Kiely (Faithlegg), Richard Creamer (Tuam), Kevin Foy (Stepaside Golf Centre), Eoin Tobin (Tipperary), Graeme Dunlea (Adare Manor Hotel & Golf Resort), Patrick Sheehy (Newcastle West)
80 Marc Kynes (Dargle View), Jamie Walsh (Charleville), David Ruddy (Cahir Park),
81 Robert Giles (Greenore), David Mooney (Golf Graffix)
82 Jimmy Bolger (Kilkenny), Conor McCormick (Newcastle West),
83 Hugh Feeney (Athlone),
84 Graham Callaghan (Hollywood Lakes)
86 Colin Farr (Whitehead),
88 Joe Dillon (Headfort), Gavin Kavanagh (Delgany),
93 Michael Hutchinson (Lisburn),
WD Neil Manchip (GUI National Academy)
DQ Edward Doyle (Westmanstown), Kevin Morris (Fota Island)
RTD Eanna Jones Nenagh Golf Club