Surgical Phelan shows Swiss precision
Kevin Phelan

Kevin Phelan

Sometimes a player needs to see signs that his hard work is worth the effort and Kevin Phelan got his reward in Switzerland when he made eight birdies and a bogey in a superb 64 to finish the day a shot off the lead in the Swiss Challenge presented by ASG.

Coached by Noel Fox, the Carton House based professional who helped Peter O'Keeffe return to the winner's circle at the recent Irish Amateur Open, Phelan has made just two of his last seven cuts.

The 26-year-old from Waterford, who first came to our attention by qualifying for two US Opens as an amateur before winning his card for the 2014 season, has been playing mostly on the Challenge Tour since the start of last year and a big week at Golf Sempachersee is just what he needs to climb the Road to Oman rankings, where his currently 169th in the race for 15 cards.

“I played very well down the middle stretch,” said Phelan, who finished the day tied for second with American Julian Suri on 10-under par, one behind Scotland's Craig Lee, who shot 63.

“I made six birdies in a row and had chances either side of going even lower.

“That was the standout part of my round, but I played really solid aside from that. 

"Just one bad tee shot on the seventh let me down, but apart from that I was really satisfied with my performance today.

“My putting, in particular, was really good. I holed a 25-footer on the first hole, then after that I managed to putt really well with anything from around six to 15 feet. 

"When you are that accurate with your putting it really helps the score.

“I played here last year and while the weather wasn’t great I really liked the course – so I am really enjoying being back here when the conditions are perfect.

“I feel pretty confident after today so I’m just going to try and go as low as I can over the weekend.” 

Derry's Ruaidhri McGee is tied for fifth, three shots off the lead on eight under thanks to a second successive 67 with Ardglass' Cormac Sharvin tied 20th on five-under after rounds of 69 and 68.

Dubliner David Carey missed the two under par cut when he followed his opening 70 with a 77 while Stephen Grant was a shot further back after rounds of 72 and 76.