When he finish his second round in the Irish Open at Royal County Down just over a week ago, Reeve Whitson was taken aside for a moment by playing partner Lee Slattery.
"He said I'm not as far away as I might think," a disappointed Whitson said that Friday night. "He said a lot of young guys come out on tour and don't really have the game but I definitely have the game and I'm technically good. I just need to tighten things up and keep playing. It's something positive to take to Austria."
True to his word, Whitson took the positives from Slattery's words and opened with a sensational, five under par 66 on the EPD Tour's St. Pölten Pro Golf Tour event at Golfclub St. Pölten in Neidling, one hour west of Vienna.
The former Spanish Amateur Open winner is in a three-way tie for third, two shots behind clubhouse leader Philipp Mejow from Berlin, who made eight birdies in a seven under 64 to lead by one from Reiner Saxton of the Netherlands.
Cian Curley is tied 38th after a one over 72 with Richard O'Donovan (74) tied 55th and Rory McNamara (75) tied 66th.
None of Ireland's quartet of cut survivors could break 80 in the windswept final round of The Dawson and Sanderson Foreign Exchange Classic at Longhirst Hal.
England's Sam Connor shot a 76 to win by two strokes from Christopher Evans (79) on two under par with Jason Timmis (75) third on one over.
Monaghan's Simon Ward shot an 81 to share 16th on nine over with Richard Kilpatrick (84) tied 26th and Brian Casey (84) tied 46th with Alan Dunbar (84) on a day when just 13 of the 55 who made the cut broke 80.
1 Sam Connor Alsager Golf & Country Club +4 F -2 66 72 76 214 £10,000.00
2 Christopher Evans Wishaw Golf club +7 F E 69 68 79 216 £6,000.00
3 Jason Timmis Wychwood Park Golf Club +3 F +1 69 73 75 217 £3,000.00
T16 Simon Ward Unattached +9 F +9 71 73 81 225 £537.00
T26 Richard Kilpatrick Banbridge Golf Club +12 F +11 73 70 84 227 £412.14
T46 Brian Casey Headfort Golf Club +12 F +15 74 73 84 231 £310.00
T46 Alan Dunbar Team Ireland +12 F +15 76 71 84 231 £310.00