Gary Hurley was in electric form on Saturday, firing nine birdies in a seven-under 65 to help himself to a share of third at the Alps Tour’s Roma Alps Letas Open.
The West Waterford man was clearly enjoying his golf last week with successive 68s helping him to a top-15 finish and the form carried through to this week at Parco dei Medici where Hurley made the turn in six-under 31, incredibly with a bogey and a five also on his outward half card.
All up it was 65 for the former Maynooth star whose 15-under tally sees him bank a timely €2,625 while he’ll also move inside the top-40 on the Order of Merit.
At the top, after being leader and joint leader on the first two days, Xavier Poncelet maintained his focussed, solid game for a third straight day to win with a final round of 68 (-4) for a total of -17 (199). This was the first win for the French player since the Mirabelle d’Or in 2012 and the first time he has headed the leaderboard over three days :
“Since 2012 I’ve had a lot of second and third places, lost a play-off but today was the day and I’m really happy,” he said. “I played really well with just one bogey on the front nine after a flyer from the rough. Then on the 16th there was a lot of wind. I hit a good shot and was really surprised when it landed in the water and I did double-bogey.
“I looked at the leader board on the seventeenth tee and saw that I was level leader. I did a good drive and made birdie then on the eighteenth the wind made things really tough but a good drive and an eight iron to the middle of the green and par.”
It was a fantastic finale at the Golf Club Parco dei Medici with a battle right down to the line between the top five players. At one stage a play-off loomed as Scotsman Ryan Lumsden came into the clubhouse two flights ahead of Poncelet with -16 (200). Poncelet’s double-bogey had them level :
“There are still some very good players out there. Xavier has the 17th to play and a birdie possibility. Alessia too who is a fantastic player. There are lots of possible outcomes but I played really well today so regardless of the outcome I can’t be upset.”
As Lumsden forecast, Poncelet birdied the 17th then parred the 18th to leave the Scotsman as runner-up. A trio of players shared third place with -15 (201). Alessia Nobilio was the top LETAS player, top Italian player and top amateur player on Saturday. Quite a result for the nineteen year-old player who carded 5 birdies and just one bogey.
“I came here just hoping to make the cut so it’s amazing to be in the top three,” she said. “I’ve only played four professional tournaments so far and this is my best result. Everything was perfect these last three days and I really enjoyed playing with the guys as I learnt a lot from them.”
A great end to the second mixed Open in the Alps Tour history and, once again, resoundingly positive feedback from the players. A breather of four weeks before the next stop of the Alps Tour at the Gosser Open in Austria from 19th-21st August.
- Full scoring HERE