Michael Hoey enters the final round of the B-NL Challenge Trophy just two shots off the lead after playing his way into contention with a brilliant six-under par round of 65 on Saturday at The Dutch.
The 42-year old fired seven birdies and just one dropped shot to move to a tie for third on eight-under par, just two back of Craig Howie who posted a four-under par round of 67 to reach 10-under.
Ballymoney pro Hoey, now 42, will be chasing a sixth European Tour title and a first since the 2013 Russian Open but will have Scotsman Howie to pass after he carded six birdies and two bogeys to move one shot clear of overnight leader Marcus Helligkilde, who signed for a level par round of 70.
The 27-year-old was proud of his performance as The Dutch showed its teeth on moving day, with high winds and firm greens making playing conditions extremely tough.
“I’m really pleased,” he said. “It was a tricky day today and I just had to stay patient. It was really windy and I think it was the toughest day so far because I really had to control my shots out there. There was a lot of cross winds which made it difficult and imagine the scoring hasn’t been as low today.”
Howie picked up his maiden European Challenge Tour title earlier this season at the Range Servant Challenge by Hinton Golf but has struggled for form since and the Scotsman was delighted to be back firing on all cylinders this week, adding that his long game has been key in setting up birdie opportunities at The Dutch.
“It’s been a tricky couple of months but it’s nice to find some form again and hopefully I can get a win tomorrow.”
“I’m driving it great,” he said. “The first two days I have drove it really well, so it’s made the game a lot easier. When you’re approaching the green from the fairways it’s easier to make birdies and hopefully, I can keep doing that tomorrow.”
Robin Dawson lost ground on Saturday, carded five bogeys and two birdies in a three-over 74 to fall outside the top-15 at three-under.
- Full scoring HERE