Yates posts another 68 to give himself every chance on Alps

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Jonathan Yates

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Jonathan Yates finds himself just three strokes back of Ryan Lumsden’s lead as the Kildare man looks to mount a serious title challenge on the final day of the Alps de Las Castillas.

The Naas professional backed up his opening four-under 68 with another on Thursday, firing six birdies before two bitter bogeys on 17 and 18. Still, at eight-under par, Yates remains right in the mix, sitting in a share of fourth in the Las Pinaillas clubhouse likely needing to go lower than 68 on Friday if he’s to taste victory on the Alps Tour.

Darwin Escapes professional David Carey isn’t without hope either after the Dubliner produced a rollercoaster three-under 69 to move to six-under par. The big hitting Castleknock man carded five birdies and an eagle but four bogeys means he has a lot of work to do on Friday if he’s to reel in the leaders.

West Waterford’s Gary Hurley was safely through to the final day after carding five birdies in a four-under 68 while Paul McBride added a 73 to his opening 71 to make the cut on the number at even par.

With a record second round in 62, 10-under par, Scotland’s Lumsden climbed from Wednesday’s T32 up to the top of the leaderboard and with a total of 133 (-11), has a one-stroke margin over France’s Romain Guillon (134, -10) and two strokes over Spaniard Manuel Elvira, third at 135 (-9) one round before the end of the Alps de Las Castillas, taking place at Club de Golf Las Pinaillas in Albacete (Spain).

“The game has been getting better lately,” said Lumsden, 24, winner in March of the opening tournament of the season in Italy, the Mira Golf Experience Acaya Open, and currently 9th in the Order of Merit having played just five out of the eight past tournaments in the calendar.

“I have been struggling lately but now my game is feeling good. Everyone has been telling me that if I can keep believing, then good scores would come along, and I thought yes, it feels like one day I could find the switch, and it happened to be today, so it feels great!

“Not totally sure what was the key today, I got off to a good start obviously, I was really in control of my wedges – and I had really been struggling with them yesterday – so that really helped, I was also good from the tee, so overall I think my whole game was pretty solid.

“When you give yourself a lot of wedges from the fairways you can go quite low up here. The greens were also definitely a bit softer, and that actually made a big difference, because you can be a little more aggressive to the pin and go a couple of yards short instead of maybe 10 yards like we were doing yesterday.”

Lumsden carded a total of 12 birdies and two bogeys, perfectly shared on front and back nines: “I am absolutely looking for a second win this season, it’s been a bit of a struggle so far really, not so much with my game but with getting scores in. I’ve also played some tournaments on the Challenge Tour and again, my game was pretty solid, but I shoot bad scores, and here it is kind of a turnaround, I feel it is going to be the turning point for the season and I’m going to be able to kick on and play good scores from here on.”

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