Despite a one-under 71 in his third round at Royal Óbidos, Michael Hoey slipped a couple of places down the Challenge Tour’s Open de Portugal leaderboard after a frustrating day three.
The Galgorm man looked to be heading for an over-par performance after three bogeys and two birdies, but a superb eagle two on the par-four 16th took him back into the red for the day and saw him move onto seven-under for the week.
Hoey is back in tied-12th, having started the day in 10th, and is ten shots adrift of leader Marcel Schneider, whose seven-under 65 has him three shots clear of Alejandro del Rey at 17-under.
Although he’s slipped down the leaderboard, Hoey is still on track to move up the Race to Mallorca standings to 29th as he goes in search of a top-20 berth that would reward him with a European Tour card for next season.
A good finish in Sunday’s final round would further his cause, but he will need birdies in order to pull himself up into the top-10 at Royal Óbidos. Starting five back of the lead in his third round, the 42-year-old had started strongly with a birdie at the second, but bogeys at the fourth and eighth either side of a birdie at the fifth dropped him back to level-par.
Another bogey at the 13th had him over-par for the day, but he rescued his round with an excellent eagle at the 16th that kept him in touch with the top-10. At the top, Schneider continued an excellent week that has seen him drop just one shot across his 54 holes, his bogey-free 65 taking him to the top and with a comfortable three-shot lead with just one round to play.
Behind him, Del Rey added a 66 to move into solo second at 14-under, while Sweden’s Jens Dantorp completes the top-three at 12-under after a 69.
- Full scoring HERE