Run of birdies sees Casey shoot to top of leaderboard
Brian Casey shot a brilliant three-under 69 to grab a share of the lead in the English Open stroke-play championship for the Brabazon Trophy at Formby on the Lancashire coast.
The Headfort golfer, who came close to beating Greystones' Paul Dunne to the East of Ireland title recently, put a second-round 76 behind him to shoot to the top alongside Bowood's Jordan Smith with a level 216, with Rochester's Alfie Plant on two-over.
Casey carded fours on each of the first eight holes – including two birdies and two bogeys – before bogeying the ninth. But after the turn he knuckled down and birdies on the 12th, 13th and 15th saw him card the joint lowest score of the day alongside Plant.
Smith will be disappointed with his four-over 76 in round three which saw his substantial lead eroded by Casey – his round including just one birdie and five bogeys.
Ballymena's Dermot McElroy also showed great improvement on his second-round total to card a one-over 73 that leaves him six strokes behind Casey and Smith and sharing 13th.
Portmarnock's Geoff Lenehan is three strokes behind McElroy after a three-over 75 and further three strokes behind him are Chris Selfridge of Moyola Park and West Waterford golfer Gary Hurley.
The other Irish qualifier who survived the cut was Belvoir Park's Harry Diamond, who hit a nine-over 81 that included five bogeys and two double-bogeys.
The final round takes place today.
Stephanie Meadow had a disappointing day in Chantilly yesterday as Great Britain and Ireland forfeited a useful-looking foursomes lead to trail at the halfway stage of the Vagliano Trophy match against the Continent of Europe.
Ahead 3-1 following the morning foursomes, Great Britain and Ireland, who have lost the last three matches to the Continent, looked set to hold the upper hand at the end of the day.
But they lost five of the eight afternoon singles to fall behind 6.5 to 5.5 with 12 more points at stake today.