McAlpin leads Irish in pursuit of 'Alps' card
FIVE Irish golfers eased through the 36-hole pre-qualifying at La Cala, but still have a 54-hole 'mountain' to climb to win Alps Tour credentials for 2014 in next week's Q-School final stage on the Costa.
Matt McAlpin of Royal Portrush finished second to England's Martin Edge on the 'America' course after a second-round 70 took him to five-under, while overnight leader Simon Ward shared fourth on three-under after a 73.
Italy's Nunzio Lombardi was top man around the 'Asia' course with two 68s. "I'm very happy about my game. The key to play 'Asia' well was absolutely to respect the course, in some holes, like the 16th, you would like to take on the green in two, but you could really lose a lot of shots," he said.
"For the final stage I hope to be able to keep playing well and having fun without thinking too much of the score. When I'm able to do that I play my best golf."
Brian Casey (75, +1) and Andrew Hogan (76, +3) also progressed, while Kerry native Thomas O'Driscoll (75, +6) made it through in a tie for 22nd on the 'Asia' course.
They all join Alan Dunbar in next Monday's first round of final qualifying.