West Waterford’s Gary Hurley was proud of how he battled through a long second day at Terre dei Consoli to head into the final day at the weather-affected Alps Tour event in second place.
Required to come back to complete the final four holes of his first round, before turning round quickly to play his second round, Hurley finished his first round with a four-under 68 and then repeated the feat in his second to reach eight-under.
Five birdies and one bogey in round two has him three shots off leader, French amateur Martin Couvra, who dazzled in his second round by carding a seven-under 65 to go with his first round 68, making him the only player in double figures at 11-under.
But Hurley was pleased with his day’s work, completing 22 holes, and he’s feeling confident going into Friday’s final round.
“Even if it was a long day, I’ve been playing very well. I’ve had two great days of golf in a row, which is awesome. Let’s hope for the same tomorrow,” he said.
Hurley joins a large group on eight-under, with Franck Daux and Giacomo Fortini both back in the clubhouse with him, while Manuel Elvira, Stefano Mazzoli and Adrien Pendaries all have their second rounds to complete on Friday morning.
Hurley split his scoring evenly across the two nines, two birdies leading to a 34 front nine and three birdies and a bogey yielding the same score on his inward nine, and will be keen to chase down 19-year-old Couvra on the final day.
He will have to produce something special to beat the in-form French amateur, though, Couvra knowing Terre dei Consoli well having won Qualifying School there at the end of last year and he carded eight birdies and just one bogey in a seven-under 65 in his second round.
Portmarnock man Conor Purcell looks likely to make the cut as he lies four-under having played the first 14 holes of his second round – he will return to complete it on Friday morning – while Castleknock’s David Carey is safely in the clubhouse at three-under after a 69.
There will be a nervous return for Naas’ Jonathan Yates and The Island’s Paul McBride, who both sit level-par after 13 holes with the cut-line expected to be around one-under-par, meaning they need an aggressive start on Friday.
PGA Catalunya’s Luke Donnelly has seven holes to rescue his tournament as he sits two-over after playing his first 11 holes in one-over, while Michael Young is down at four-over but could yet make a move having only completed three holes of his round.
Druids Heath pro Simon Bryan lies eight-over thru six holes of his second round and looks destined to miss the cut unless he performs a massive turnaround overnight.