Royal Dublin's Niall Kearney has a two-shot lead over Colm Moriarty heading into tomorrow’s final round of the Titleist PGA Play-Offs in Turkey.
Kearney, the reigning Irish PGA champion carded a flawless second round 67, doing all of his scoring on the front nine, before coming home with 11 consecutive pars to ease to 10-under for the £15,000 tournament at Antalya Golf Club's PGA Sultan Course.
Moriarty (Drive Golf Performance Ltd) was in danger of slipping behind but rallied over the closing holes with a hat-trick of birdies from the 14th to card a second successive 67 and hang on to the coat tails of his younger rival.
Defending champion Greig Hutcheon (Paul Lawrie Golf Centre), Jason Levermore (Channels) and David Dixon (Enmore Park) all reproduced their opening three-under-par 68s to edge to share third place on six-under.
They remain in the hunt for one of the three GB&I PGA Cup places on offer with places at the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth next year also up for grabs.
“I got off to a great start,” said Kearney who edged out Michael McGeady to win the Irish title at Adare Manor in early October. “I was four-under through seven and playing very well.
“I was hitting the fairways and hitting the greens and giving myself loads of chances, makeable chances. I didn’t really carry it through the back nine as I hit the greens but left it too far away to hole the putts.
“I’m just going to stick to the process of getting it off the tee and on to the fairway and on to the green. I feel like I’m putting well, certainly from 10-12 feet, so there should be chances out there to shoot a good score tomorrow.
“Colm is a good friend of mine and I’ve played a lot of golf with him over the years. I got off to a good start and he was a bit behind and then he had a good back nine, so I think we fed off each other so it’ll be a good battle tomorrow.”
Moriarty, the 2014 Ulster PGA Champion, admitted keeping in touch with Kearney was key and expects tomorrow to be ‘interesting’.
He said: “I played quite nicely and drove the ball very well I just didn’t hit my iron shots as close as I would like on the front nine. I had a nice little run on the back nine as I birdied 14, 15 and 16 and made two little nice up and downs at the last two as well. It was a nice way to finish.
“I feel a lot better as I was five behind with five to play. Two shots is nothing but there are other guys there as well it’s not just a two horse race. A couple of the guys shot good scores so it’ll be an interesting final day.”
“Niall played lovely golf today. He started off like a train and I just rallied an got a few back at the end, which will make it interesting tomorrow.”
Defending champion Hutcheon, has yet to hit to form and knows he needs a strong finish if he is to achieve his twin aim of competing at Wentworth next May but more importantly seal a PGA Cup spot.
Michael McGeady and Damien Mooney (Ballyliffin) are tied for 17th on two over par, Michael McDermott (Pure Golf Leopardstown) is tied for 20th on three over, with Brendan McGovern (Headfort GC) in 27th position on six over par.
Titleist PGA Play-Offs, Antalya Golf Club- PGA Sultan Course (Par 71)
132 Niall Kearney (Royal Dublin) 65 67
134 Colm Moriarty (Drive Golf Performance Ltd) 67 67
136 Greig Hutcheon (Paul Lawrie Golf Centre) 68 68; Jason Levermore (Channels Golf Club) 68 68; David Dixon (Enmore Park Golf Club) 68 68;
137 Alex Belt (Bridlington Links Golf & Leisure) 68 69
138 Benn Barham (PGolfCoaching@Pedham) 71 67
140 Graham Fox (Clydeway Golf) 71 69; Richard O'Hanlon (St Kew Golf Club) 69 71
141 Richard Dinsdale (Parc Golf Club/Asbri Golf 72 69; Ian Ellis (Gt Yarmouth & Caister Golf Club) 72 69
142 Matthew Cort (Rothley Park Golf Club) 72 70; Gareth Davies (Abbeydale Golf Club) 71 71; Ian Walley (Kedleston Park Golf Club) 69 73
143 Darren Charlton (Dunstable Downs Golf Club) 70 73; Chris Gane (Lefthanded Golf at Silvermere) 70 73;
144 John Mellor (Oaks Golf Club) 75 69; Michael McGeady (Foyle Golf Centre) 73 71; Damian Mooney (Nevada Bobs Belfast) 73 71
145 Andrew Willey (Bulwell Forest Golf Club) 74 71; Michael McDermott (Pure Golf Leopardstown) 71 74
146 Greg McBain (Paul Lawrie Golf Centre) 75 71; David Shacklady (Mossock Hall Golf Club) 73 73
147 Mark Hooper (The Rayleigh Club) 74 73; Michael Watson (Wessex Golf Centre)74 73; James Ablett (Lee-on-The-Solent Golf Club) 74 73
148 Brendan McGovern (Headfort Golf Club) 75 73
156 Christopher McDonnell Troon Golf Management 79 77.