Ruaidhri McGee and Cormac Sharvin have given themselves every chance of cracking a maiden Challenge Tour win after sweeping into contention at the Hauts de France – Pas de Calais Golf Open.
The pair have broken inside the top-five after making the most of moving day, with the Irish duo locked together in a share of fifth at four-under par.
Ardglass professional Sharvin posted four birdies in a two-under par 69 but it was McGee who made the most ground on the leaders, firing five birdies in a super showing of four-under par 67 as the pair moved to within five shots of Dutchman Daan Huizing’s lead.
For the second consecutive year, Huizing will take a one stroke lead into the final round. Last year, the Dutchman struggled on the final day, missing out on a play-off, which was won by Welshman Stuart Manley. The year prior, he carded the course record in the second round, but was unable to crack the top ten, while in 2016, he was in with a chance to win coming down the stretch but was unable to get over the line, ultimately settling for a share of fourth place.
Having been in this exact position at Aa Saint-Omer Golf Club only one year ago, Huizing feels he is better prepared for a pressure-packed final 18-holes.
“The last three years I’ve been really good here,” he said. “I think this time it’s mostly about staying calm and sticking to my game plan and making good decisions. “That’s what I’ve been doing well to get here and that’s what I didn’t do well the other times when I was here, so it’s pretty easy actually—stay sharp and play well.
“It’s going to be a good shoot-out tomorrow, but I can only focus on myself.”
The 28-year-old will also be able to lean on his recent success at the Jordan Mixed Open presented by Ayla, where he posted an eight under par 64 in the first round and then emerged victorious after a tight battle down the stretch against Ladies European Tour player Meghan MacLaren.
“When you’re playing for a tournament there’s always pressure involved, and I dealt with it really well in Jordan,” he said. “That was a big tournament and I was proud of the way I handled myself there. You take those feelings and you take that experience and it’s showtime again tomorrow.”
The final round of the Hauts de France – Pas de Calais Golf Open will begin at 8:10 am with the final group of Huizing, Roussel and Bland set to go at 11:55 am.
On Friday, Conor O’Rourke and Robin Dawson unfortunately missed the cut while Michael Hoey retired after nine holes.