Headfort’s Brian Casey is only Irishman inside the qualifying places after a disastrous third day for the green army at the Second Stage of the Qualifying School in Spain.
An extraordinary Casey made nine birdies in an eight under 64 at Panorámica Golf and Sport Resort in Castellón to move up one spot to second place on 19 under, two strokes behind American amateur Scott Fernandez.
With 18 spots in next weekend’s Final Stage on offer at each of the four venues, the rest of the Irish are outside the magic number though there is still hope for some.
West Waterford’s Gary Hurley hit a three 68 to move up 16 places to tied 21st on seven under at Lumine Golf and Beach Club in Tarragona and is just one shot outside the Top 18.
His close pal, Open Championship hero Paul Dunne, shot a level par 71 at the same venue, leaving him on two shots outside the mark on six under in joint 25th with Rathmore’s Alan Dunbar (70) tied 38th on four under.
The season is over for Moyola Park’s Chris Selfridge, however, after he tweaked his wrist on the range at El Saler when lying fifth overnight and was forced to withdraw before the start.
"I'm not sure what happened and it's really upsetting but these things happen," said a disconsolate Selfridge, who will concentrate on getting his card via the Challenge Tour rankings next year. “I just hurt it on the range, tried to play but it was impossible.”
Walker Cup star Gavin Moynihan crashed to an eight over 80 at the Valencia venue and at five over par, he’ll need a round in the low 60s to progress to the Final Stage next weekend.
The two-time Irish Amateur Open champion from The Island dropped five shots in his first six holes and while he birdied the ninth, he double bogeyed the 15th and 16th and tied 53rd, eight shots outside the qualifying places.
A 69 for Derry’s Mick McGeady leaves him five shots outside the three under par qualifying mark at El Saler, where English Walker Cup player Jimmy Mullen leads on 12 under.
Europro Tour regular Casey opened with a 65 at Panorámica, followed up with a 68 and then took his birdie haul for the week to 23 with his 64 yesterday.
If he makes it it PGA Catalunya Resort for the Final Stage, 24-year old should find the Girona venue to his liking having finished tied for eighth in an ECCO Tour event there in March, carding a 72 on the Stadium Course and rounds of 68 and 64 on the less demanding Tour Course.
The former Mullingar Scratch Cup winner's professional career has been one of steady progression and is all the more remarkable considering he has had to overcome a stammer.
He certainly appears to have the game to compete, finishing tied 42nd on his European Tour debut in the M2M Russian Open in September.
Naas’ Jack Hume, another Walker Cup player, shot 72 at the same venue and looks out of the running in 44th, seven strokes outside the qualifying mark on two under alongside Irish amateur team mate Colm Campbell from Warrenpoint, who shot a 70.
At Las Colinas Golf and Country Club in Alicante, Headfort’s Rory McNamara (73) is nine outside the qualifying mark on three over with Banbridge’s Richard Kilpatrick 10 over following an 80.
2015 EUROPEAN TOUR SECOND QUALIFYING STAGE
Campo de Golf El Saler, Valencia (18th -3)
- 1 Jimmy MULLEN England 69 65 70 (-12)
- T40 (T60) (T61) Michael McGEADY Northwest GC 76 73 69 (+2)
- T53 (T15) (T3) Gavin MOYNIHAN The Island GC 68 73 80 (+5)
- RET (T5) (T17) Chris SELFRIDGE Moyola Park 70 69 RET (-5)
Las Colinas Golf & Country Club, Alicante (18th -6)
- T1 Marcus KINHUT Sweden *Am 67 66 67 (-13)
- T1 Jamie RUTHERFORD Eng 67 65 68 (-13)
- T54 (T46) (T56) Rory MCNAMARA La Cala Resort 73 70 73 (+3)
- T66 (T46) (T42) Richard KILPATRICK Banbridge GC 71 72 80 (+10)
- 1 Scott FERNANDEZ USA *Am 62 66 67 (-21)
- 2 (3) (3) Brian CASEY Headfort GC 65 68 64 (-19)
- T44 (T54) (T13) Colm CAMPBELL JNR (AM) Warrenpoint 68 76 70 (-2)
- T44 (T41) (T48) Jack HUME (AM) Naas GC 72 70 72 (-2)
- T69 (T46) (T13) Jonathan CALDWELL Clandeboye GC 68 75 77 (+4)
Lumine Golf & Beach Club, Tarragona (18th -8)
- T1 Daniel GAVINS Eng 68 67 64 (-14)
- T1 Matt WALLACE Eng 66 66 67 (-14)
- T21 (T31) (T14) Gary HURLEY West Waterford GC 68 70 68 (-7)
- T25 (T13) (T39) Paul DUNNE Hartl Resort, Bad Griesbach 70 66 71 (-6)
- T38 (T34) (T14) Alan DUNBAR Team Ireland 68 71 70 (-4)