Saturday 24 February 2018

Duo closing in on Euro cards

GOLF

Ruaidhri McGee and Kevin Phelan are one step away from securing a European Tour card after both qualified from their respective second-stage events in Spain.

Donegal's McGee finished in seventh at the Las Colinas Club in Alicante after a steady 71 ensured he finished on nine-under thanks to his first three scores of 67, 70 and 67 giving him an aggregate of 275.

Niall Kearney shot a disastrous 76 in his final round to finish on 286 and a share of 36th to distinguish any hopes of claiming one of the 17 available spots for the final qualifying event at the PGA Catalunya Resort from November 10-15.

Ballygiffin's Damien Mooney (289), The Heritage's Stephen Grant (289) and Ballyliffin's Brendan McCarroll (306) also missed out. David Rawluk's retired during the third round.

Waterford's Phelan claimed one of the 17 available places at the El Saler course by finishing in a tie for 13th place.

Colm Moriarty and Alan Dunbar both failed to progress after finishing with scores of 295 and 301.

High winds affected play at the Lumine Club in Tarragona and Valle Romano in Malaga causing the final rounds to be concluded today.

Ballymena's Dermot McElroy is in with a chance of qualifying but Gareth Shaw looks unlikely to make the grade.

David Ferrer won the first match he played against fellow Spaniard Rafael Nadal in 2004 and got the better of him again three days before their clash at the ATP World Tour finals in London.

In between, Nadal has prevailed 20 times and normal service was resumed yesterday as Nadal made up for his shock defeat by Ferrer at the Paris Masters to thump the world No 3 6-3 6-2 in little more than an hour.

The 27-year-old world No 1 did not even have to be anywhere near his best as Ferrer capitulated in a display littered with 33 unforced errors, as Nadal took the points to begin his Group A schedule with a victory.

No wonder Nadal was not too concerned about having to face Switzerland's Stanislas Wawrinka 24 hours later at the O2 Arena.

Meanwhile, Novak Djokovic overcame Roger Federer 6-4 6-7 (2/7) 6-2 to progress to the last 16. It was Djokovic's 18th successive victory, after winning his sixth title of the season in Paris on Sunday.

The Serb is trying to finish world No 1 for the third year in a row, but Nadal needs only one more win in London to guarantee top spot.

Irish Independent

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