Galbraith produces key round to keep Ireland in the hunt
Whitehead's John-Ross Galbraith. Picture courtesy  Asociacion Argentina de Golf

Whitehead's John-Ross Galbraith. Picture courtesy Asociacion Argentina de Golf

Irish champion John-Ross Galbraith kept Ireland's hopes of winning the Southern Cross Invitational alive with a gutsy third round performance in Argentina.

As Jack Hume crashed to an 80, losing a four shot lead in the individual tournament to end the day nine strokes behind Romain Langasque of France in seventh place, Ireland slipped from the lead to one behind France in the team standings at Nordelta Golf Club near Buenos Aires.

Galbraith had failed to produce a counting score over the first two days, but his level par 72, which was matched by the consistent Gary Hurley and complemented by Gavin Moynihan's 74, give Ireland an excellent chance of winning the team title.

France leads by one on eight under 640 after firing 214 on day three to Ireland's 218 with Australia now just five shots off the pace on three under after a brilliant 208 that featured a 65 by Australian amateur champion Cameron Davis 

Team standings Web PDF 

Individual standings Web PDF

Gavin Moynihan stripes an iron.  Picture courtesy   Asociacion Argentina de Golf

Gavin Moynihan stripes an iron. Picture courtesy Asociacion Argentina de Golf

After nine holes, things looked grim for Ireland with Whitehead man Galbraith one under as Hurley turned in one over, Moynihan in three over and Hume in five over.

That they shot a two over par team score in the end — three of four cards count — was a hugely positive result and Galbraith certainly did his bit, make eight pars and a birdie on the front nine before covering the back nine in one over.

He missed chances at the 13th, 14th and 15th but after following a birdie from eight feet at the 16th with a bogey off a poor drive at the 17th, he did brilliantly to save par at the last.

Bunkered some 20 yards from the pin, his recovery ran 10 feet past the hole but he drained the par putt to post a valuable 72 for the team and move up to tied 24th in the individual standings on 11 over.

Langasque made seven birdies in a five under 67 to lead on nine under par — five shots clear of Davis, who shot a bogey free 65.

Hurley is tied for third with Vitor Lopes of Portugal, seven strokes off the pace on two under after a 72.

After three putting for bogey at the second, the West Waterford and Maynooth University man  birdied the par-five fourth and the water-protected sixth to get back to one under for the day,

Gary Hurley in action in the third round .   Picture courtesy   Asociacion Argentina de Golf

Gary Hurley in action in the third roundPicture courtesy Asociacion Argentina de Golf

But he then made a double bogey seven at the long eighth — a hole that cost Ireland three doubles on the day — when he drove into a hazard.

A great up and down from a deep trap at the ninth helped him turn in 37 and he was immediately back in the red when he hit two sensational shots to the heart of the par-five 10th, taking advantage of a massive drive, and holed the putt for an eagle three. 

Birdie misses at the 11th, 13th and 15th tried his patience and he was unfortunate to bogey the last. But his consistency has been key for Ireland over the first three days and will be key again on Sunday.

Walker Cup star Moynihan will also be expected to make his experience count on the final day and while a two over 74 was not what he was looking for, the man from The Island was three over with nine to go.

Level playing the dreaded eighth, he hit his tee shot out of bounds and also bogeyed the ninth before coming back well with birdies at the 13th (where he hit two drivers and a chip to two feet) and 16th against a bogey at the 14th.

Jack Hume prepares to play.  Picture courtesy  Asociacion Argentina de Golf

Jack Hume prepares to play.  Picture courtesy Asociacion Argentina de Golf

As for Naas' Hume, it was one of those days that keeps a golfer on his toes.

Having opened with rounds of 69 and 67 to lead the individual standings by four shots, he looked to be on his way to another good score when he hit a five iron to 20 feet at the third and holed the putt for birdie to go one under.

But having split the fairway with his tee shot at the par-five fourth and opted to lay up with a rescue, he was stunned to spray it 40 yards right into a hazard and take seven.

He then three putted the fifth, missing from three feet for par, and dropped another shot at the sixth before driving out of bounds at the eighth to run up another seven find himself five over.

Out in 41, Hume might have hoped to pull back a shot at the par-five 10th, but he drove into sand  and could only splash out from a poor lie, dropping another shot.

Little went right from there and while there was a birdie at the 17th, he bogeyed three of the last four for an 80 and headed to the range after his lunch to practice.

Drawn with French and Australian opposition in the last four groups on Sunday, Ireland know they will win the title if every many comes out on top in his threeball.

France are playing well but with Galbraith's confidence restored, Hurley playing so consistently and Hume unlikely to have two bad days in a row, a big performance by Moynihan would be no surprise. Ireland may need it.