Mount Juliet’s Luke Donnelly continued his remarkable comeback at the First Stage of the Qualifying School when he shot a course record 10 under par 62 to move inside the top 19 and ties who will qualify for the Second Stage following Friday's final round.
The 21-year old made an eagle and ten birdies in his third round at The Players Club in Bristol, soaring 26 places up the leaderboard to solo fourth on six-under in an event where he began triple bogey, double bogey to be five-over after two holes of his first round.
Coached by Eoin Gibbons, he’s managed by former Republic of Ireland footballer Stephen Hunt, who believes his worth ethic will stand to him as he tries to make it on tour.
“Luke is obviously closely associated with Mount Juliet, but he has been working hard at The Belfry for the past four months putting the graft in,” Hunt said recently.
"All I can say is that he works very hard. And if he doesn't play well, he doesn't hide for it. He tries to learn from it, and he goes from there."
Donnelly is just four shots off the lead and gunning for victory in Bristol where Old Conna’s Neil O’Briain shot a level par 72 to sit alone in fifth place on four-under.
North West’s Brian McElhinney is tied 30th on seven over after a 70, just three shots outside the top 20 with Joe Dillon a shot further back after a 76 with Brendan McCarroll cut.
At Fleesensee in Germany, Evolve Golf’s Michael McGeady shot 72 to share 23rd with Glasson’s Colm Moriarty (70) on two-under, three shots outside the top 25 per cent who will progress there.
European Tour Qualifying School - First Stage
Sep 11-14 — First Stage Europe Section A Fleesensee, Germany
T23 Michael McGeady 70 72 72 214
T23 Colm Moriarty 74 70 70 214
First Stage Europe Section A The Players Club, Bristol, England
4 Luke Donnelly 77 71 62 210
5 Neil O’Briain 72 68 72 212
T30 Brian McElhinney 79 74 70 223
T35 Joe Dillon 71 77 76 224
T76 Brendan McCarroll 75 82 79 236
Sep 18-21 — First Stage Europe Section B Stoke by Nayland
Sep 18-21 — First Stage Europe Section B GolfClub Schloss Ebreichsdorf. Austria
Sep 25-28 — First Stage Europe Section C Golf Club Bogogno, Italy
Oct 09-12 — First Stage Europe Section D Golf d’Hardelot, France
Oct 09-12 — First Stage Europe Section D Bom Sucesso, Óbidos, Portugal