Kitt last Irishman standing at Portuguese Amateur

Adam McKendry
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Kitt last Irishman standing at Portuguese Amateur

David Kitt (Photo by Octavio Passos/R&A/R&A via Getty Images)

Athenry’s David Kitt is the only Irishman left standing at the Portuguese International Amateur Open at Montado Golf Resort as his fellow countrymen all failed to make the 54-hole cut.

With only the top-40 and ties making it into Saturday’s final round, Kitt was the only one to surpass that mark as a two-under-par 70 in his third round saw him finish the day six-under and in a share of 14th.

His chances of winning are remote as he is 12 shots behind leader Frank Kennedy, the Englishman aiming to win wire-to-wire having led at the end of every round, and he increased his advantage from one shot to three heading into the final day ahead of second-placed Finn Koelle of Germany.

While Kitt is left to fly the Irish flag alone, it was a much tougher day for the rest of our local cohort who will be heading home for Portugal a day earlier than anticipated.

The cut fell at one-over, with Meath’s Jack McDonnell the next closest to making it into Saturday’s final round at three-over following a level-par 72 on Friday featuring two birdies and two bogeys, however he will be left to rue an horrific opening round 80 that always left him playing from behind.

Powerscourt’s David Shiel fell away after a third round 79, finishing at eight-over alongside Athenry’s Allan Hill, who closed with a 74. Carton House’s Keith Egan, who was the leading Irishman after the first round, also slumped to a 79 to end his week at 10-over, the same score as Sligo’s TJ Ford(75) and Royal Dublin’s Richard Knightly (73).

Galway Bay’s Andrew Hickey will be most disappointed with his third round performance as he started the third day at one-under but collapsed to an 85 that left him 12-over for the week.

That leaves Kitt on his own and he will be optimistic he can push up the leaderboard on Saturday after a solid finish to his third round at Montado which saw him birdie three of his last six holes to keep himself inside the top-20 and in line for a strong result.

A birdie on the par-five second was quickly cancelled out by a bogey at the par-three third and then another on the par-four fifth, but the Athenry man made the turn in level with a birdie on the par-four ninth, before a bogey on the toughest hole, the par-four 11th, was rectified by a birdie at the par-four 13th.

Kitt then finished off with a flourish, adding birdies at the 15th and 17th for his third consecutive round of 70, moving up to 14th and within touching distance of the top-10.

Kennedy continued his fine form with his best round of the week so far, and the best round of anybody on Friday, a bogey-free eight-under 64 taking him up to 18-under for the week and in a comfortable position with just 18 holes to play at Montado.

Koelle signed for a 66 that moves him up to 15-under and has him the most likely to prevent the Englishman from completing the wire-to-wire win, with fellow German Carl Siemens firing a 68 that has him two shots further back in solo third at 13-under.

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