Portmarnock’s Conor Purcell was the best Irish finisher at the Alps Tour’s Winter Series event at Terre dei Consoli after a disappointing final round for West Waterford man Gary Hurley.
Hurley had started the final round three shots back of French amateur Martin Couvra but could only manage a four-over 76 on Friday to slip back into a share of 21st at four-under for the week.
Ahead of him, Purcell almost sneaked a top-10 finish but had to settle for tied-11th with a three-under 69 taking him up to eight-under for the week and eight shots off the eventual winner, Adrien Pendaries.
Couvra also had a poor day, a 75 seeing him fall out of the top-10 and alongside Purcell at eight-under, which allowed fellow countryman Pendaries to steal in with a phenomenal bogey-free eight-under 64 to win by four shots.
The Frenchman shot two eagles and four birdies on his way to a comfortable success, with another two Frenchmen, amateur Julien Sale and Pierre Pineau, sharing second at 12-under after rounds of 67 and 68 respectively.
While it would have needed an incredible round from Hurley to win, it will be a great frustration for him he couldn’t at least finish in the top-10 and perhaps even higher, as he carded three bogeys in his first seven holes before his first birdie at the eighth.
Another birdie arrived to start his back-nine at the 10th, but he ran into double-bogey trouble after the turn, two of them coming at the 12th and 16th either side of two more birdies as he would record a 76.
That allowed Purcell to overtake him as the best Irishman of the week, the Dubliner continuing his good form with six birdies, but he too will be annoyed he didn’t finish in the top-10 as a double-bogey on the par-three 16th ended his scoring and saw him fall to 11th.
Meanwhile, Pendaries was a deserving winner as he took advantage of Couvra’s collapse with two birdies and an eagle on his outward nine to take the lead, and he eased back to the clubhouse with another two birdies and an eagle for a superb 64.
Sale also impressed with five birdies in a bogey-free 67 to claim a share of second at 12-under alongside Pineau, who briefly threatened but was undone by two bogeys in his final three holes, in a French 1-2-3.
It was also an excellent day for Tomas Bessa Guimaraes, who had a hole-in-one at the par-three third on his way to a six-under 66 to finish tied for sixth at nine-under for a week, to add to his New Giza Open title earlier in the month.
Castleknock’s David Carey was the only other Irish player to make the halfway cut and he would finish in a tie for 42nd after a three-over 75 saw him fall back to level-par for the tournament.
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