Danielle McVeigh brilliantly birdied three of her last four holes to make the cut and go into Monday’s final round of the Lalla Aicha Tour School in Morocco with a fighting chance of winning her Ladies European Tour card.
The Kilkeel player was a shot outside the level par cut mark with four holes to play on the Al Maaden course in Marrekesh but birdied the 15th, 17th and 18th for a two under 70 to make the top 60 and ties with two shots to spare. Leaderboard
It was a major show of character by the Royal County Down star but she will have to produce something even better in the fifth and final round if she is to finish inside the top 30 and ties who will earn category 8a status for the 2013 season.
Tied for 46th on two under par, McVeigh is three strokes outside the top 30 and ties but the good news is that she has made short work of the Al Maaden course which will host the decisive round.
While she was six over for her two rounds on the Amelkis (74-76), she’s eight under (66-70) on the Al Maaden though well off the pace set by 17-year old Thai amateur Ariya Jutanugarn, who hit a flawless 65 to move into a three shot lead on 21 under par.
In fact, amateurs occupy the top three places. England’s Emily Taylor is second place on 18 under with Namibia’s Bonita Bredenhann in solo third on 16 under.
“The course is not easy but I think I got lucky because I’ve hit my irons perfect this week,” said Jutanugarn, who plans to turn professional early next year and play the full season in Europe.
“Every day my irons, I hit them so close, but today I missed some short putts one or two times. I had a three putt on a par five, 13. Generally I think everything is very good and I’ll just keep going like today.”
Taylor, who had five birdies in a 67, was also ideally placed to secure her tour card.
The 18-year-old Lancastrian said: “I made a good start and birdied the first two holes, but seemed to stall after that. I had a good finish with two birdies on the last two holes. I am happy with five birdies and no bogeys. My driving and general game was good and it was a solid day.”
Bredenhann, who is set to become the first professional golfer from Namibia, had five birdies in her bogey-free 67.
“I missed a few holes that could have been birdies but I was just trying to be calm, focused and play shot by shot,” said Bredenhann, 20.
“I was chasing Ariya but she was playing really, really well, putting it next to the pins and sank her putts.
“I had a few lip-outs. I’m going to try and go for it tomorrow and give her a go, but I’ll take whatever I play. I’ll just go out there and enjoy it.”
Cheyenne Woods of the United States made the fourth round cut but was outside the top 30 alongside McVeigh on two under par having bogeyed the last three holes in a 73.
She said: “I played well until the last three holes. I kind of finished a little rough so hopefully I’ll be able to pick it back up tomorrow.”