Hoey just outside top-20 after moving day 67 in Denmark

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Michael Hoey (Photo by Luke Walker/Getty Images)

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Michael Hoey signed for his best round of the week so far – a four-under 67 – to bolt 29 places up the leaderboard to a tie for 22nd at one-under par ahead of the final round of the Sydbank Esbjerg Challenge.

The Ballymoney professional carded six birdies with two dropped shots also on the scorecard and trails eight shots behind Scot Ewen Ferguson’s lead ahead of Friday’s finale at Esbjerg Golfklub.

Kinsale’s John Murphy was the only other Irishman in the field, posting his second even par effort of the week despite recording five birdies to fall 11 places down the board to a tie for 36th at one-over.

At the top, Ferguson will take a one-shot lead into the final round after posting an emphatic six-under par round of 65 at Esbjerg Golfklub. The Scotsman, who is chasing a maiden European Challenge Tour title, started the day in a share of seventh, four strokes behind halfway leader Julian Brun.

He raced up the leaderboard as he made the turn five under par after four birdies and an eagle and made three further gains on the back nine to sign for a nine under par total, one stroke clear of Brun ahead of the final round.

Ferguson has impressed on the 2021 Road to Mallorca with two runner-up results and three further top five finishes, including a T5 showing last week’s Made in Esbjerg Challenge.

“Even just having lunch and looking around the clubhouse, there’s so many good players all around you,” he said. “To be leading them after three rounds and leading the golf tournament and leading a Challenge Tour event I think that says a lot about me as a golfer and as a person, just dealing with all the things that come with golf. So I’m quite happy that I’m in this position and hopefully I can just keep giving myself these opportunities.”

The 25-year-old, who won the Boys Amateur Championship in 2013, hopes his consistency will pay off in the long run as he searches for a maiden victory as a professional.

“It’s a really difficult game and you can’t hit the same shot twice,” he added. “If I can try and literally just keep my head and stay focused and do my best and if it happens it happens (winning an event) and if not, I know I’ll get myself up there again and I’ll get myself a lot more opportunities in the future and tomorrow is just another one of them.

“I like this course, I like how you need to be able to shape it. You need to be able to hit it low and high and have a lot of variation and when I’m playing well I’m quite good at that, it doesn’t always work out but I think that could be my strength when I play good so that’s probably why I’m doing okay.”

Spain’s Angel Hidalgo and Espen Kofstad of Norway share third place on seven under par, two strokes ahead of Spaniard Ivan Cantero Gutierrez and Ugo Coussaud of France.

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