Paul McBride fired a four-under par round of 67 to move to within five shots of the lead ahead of the final round of the Antognolla Alps Open.
The Island professional produced a superb round in Italy on Thursday, posting six birdies and two bogeys to launch himself up the board to three-under par. Now in a tie for seventh, he has Stefano Pitoni to catch after the Italian pulled one stroke clear with a bogey-free 68 to set the bar at eight-under.
David Carey had threatened to put himself right in contention with a round to go also, however the Carton House player, who had raced through the field with five birdies through 15 holes, finished double-bogey, double-bogey, par in a round of 70 to sit in a tie for 20th at one-under.
Gary Hurley made it three Irishman in Friday’s final round; the West Waterford man carding five birdies in a one-under 70 of his own to get back to even par through 36-holes.
As for the leader Pitoni, he was understandably delighted to hit the front having found all 18 greens in regulation in round two:
“I was very good from tee to green and hit 18 greens in regulation,” he said. “I had many putts for birdie, but I was not as good as yesterday on the greens. I tend to play defensively to try to hit the fairways because I’m not very long.
“On this course it helps to be strong because many bunkers have been put around 250 metres and to fly them you need to go long, and as I cannot do it, I need to hit straight! Tomorrow I will think shot by shot, not looking at the leader board and try to stay as calm as possible.”
It was another tricky day on the Antognolla Course where 29 players broke par, a further 10 shot even and there were six eagles landed.
With the 36-hole cut falling at one-over, Simon Bryan was unlucky to miss out at two-over while Jonathan Yates (+3) and Rhys Clarke (+9) will also sit out the final day’s action.
The weather forecast for the final day looks promising with no rain, mild conditions if a little overcast. It just remains to see if Stefano Pitoni can keep his head and stay ahead to claim his first victory on the Alps Tour since 2016.
- Full scoring HERE