Sport Golf

Sunday 17 December 2017

Thornton and Devlin stay on course in Q-School bid

Chris Smart

CHRIS DEVLIN and Simon Thornton lead the Irish charge in the third round of European Tour second stage qualifying after stunning scores of 64 and 66 respectively.

Ballymena-born Devlin carded seven birdies in a brilliant bogey-free round at Las Colinas in Alicante, one which lifted him to joint sixth on the leaderboard, four strokes behind Dutch leader Tim Sluiter, who is flying on 11-under.

While Devlin looks good for one of 19 qualifying places at his venue -- the other three courses have 18 up for grabs -- going into today's final round, County Down's Thornton is also in a great position, after climbing to the top of the standings at El Saler in Valencia on six-under.

After six birdies, the only blot on his card was a bogey on the last green, but he had still done enough to share first place with England's Jason Timmis.

Also well-placed in Valencia is Waterville's David Higgins. He shot 69 yesterday and is in a tie for seventh, while Lurgan's Gareth Shaw (70) is still in with a chance on two-over-par.


Ruaidhri McGee (74) could find it tough to qualify after a double-bogey seven on the 15th and a dropped shot at the last, while Noel Fox (72) doesn't have much hope on 10-over.

Back at Las Colinas, Brendan McCarroll (71) is one stroke off the cut-off point on one-under, Mark Murphy (70) is two further adrift, but Barrie Trainor of Mayobridge (73) is out of contention.

Former amateur international Niall Kearney followed up a 66 on Thursday with a four-under 67 to move to joint-fifth at the Lumine club in Tarragona, two shots adrift of leader Martin Sell (12-under).

It'll be touch and go for the likes of Jonathan Caldwell (70) and Mark Staunton (71), two and three strokes off the last qualifying berth respectively. However, Rathmore amateur Alan Dunbar (73) is just trying to avoid finishing last.

At Murcia's El Valle resort, Tim Rice (70) and Peter O'Keeffe (72) are still in with a great chance of reaching final qualifying later this month. They are tied for 15th, bang on the cut-off point, on two-under. Newlands' Cian Curley fired a 68, but still has some work to do.

Irish Independent

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