Irish trio through to final round of Alps qualifier

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Paul McBride (Photo by Luke Walker/Getty Images)

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Paul McBride, Simon Bryan and Rhys Clarke will all sit the final round examination at Alps Tour Q-School after safely navigating the 36-hole cut in Italy.

McBride leads the Irish charge into the final round after firing a three-under par round of 69 around Terre dei Consoli on Wednesday. The Island professional posted four birdies and just one dropped shot and shares fourth place at five-under par, with the top-35 players after Thursday’s final round banking the top category available on the Alps Tour next season.

Druids Heath professional Bryan, who made light work of blustery conditions to lead the Irish challenge on day one, was again impressive, this time at Golf Nazionale where he traded three birdies and two bogeys to move to four-under par and into a share of sixth. The 28-year old will join 73 players making the cut for the final day around the same venue confident of retaining his place on the upper half off the board given his familiarity with the layout after getting in some practice in recent weeks: “I have a good game plan in place which is key on that course,” Bryan explained.

At the same venue, Rhys Clarke produced a hard-fought four-over par round of 76 to comfortably advance to the final day in a share of 39th at four-over. The cut came in at +7 with 16 amateurs among the 73 players coming through. The Final Round tees off on Thursday from the 1st and 10th tees of the Golf Nazionale to decide who gets category 6 (top 35 and ties) or category 8 (from 36th to 73rd) on the Alps Tour next year.

Australia’s Will Heffernan fired the best score of the day on both courses, a resounding 65 (-7) to take the lead with an overall -9 (135) after 36 holes.

Teeing off on the Terre dei Consoli Golf Club course from the first, the player from Down Under started in style with a birdie. He finished the first nine with three more, started the back nine with another birdie, dropped a shot with a single bogey but recovered with three more birdies coming home.

“I’m confident with the putter,” he said. “The putter and the driver in fact but it’s all about the putting here as it’s quite wide off the tee. I holed a lot of putts today and that’s always gonna get it done, isn’t it? So far, I’m doing everything pretty well so I can’t complain.”

Winner last week on the Golf Club Parco de’ Medici course, he heads into the final round at the Golf Nazionale with the same approach:

“You’ve got to plot your way around the course. It’s going to be soft as I’m sure the grass is still wet there. So, just put yourself on the fairway and try to give yourself as many birdie opportunities as possible.”

Those players who did not make the cut, including Peter Dallat and Conor Purcell, both at plus-nine, will be eligible for membership in category 9 of the Alps Tour for the 2021 season.

Full scoring HERE


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