Robin Dawson’s recent upturn in form continued as he made the cut at the Blue Canyon Open in Phuket Thailand. The Tramore golfer backed up an opening round of 72 with a two-under 70 to make the cut on the number at -2.
Dawson recovered from a struggling start where he found himself two-over after four holes to birdie the fifth, eighth and ninth to turn in 35. The Waterford man’s back nine was stress-free with eight pars and a birdie on the fifteenth to sneak into the final round.
There was disappointment for Dawson’s Waterford compatriot Kevin Phelan who couldn’t progress after his opening 71, instead falling to a four-over 76 to miss the cut on plus-three.
Conor O’Rourke also missed the final round cut on four-over after the Naas golfer carded a pair of 74s. David Hague needed three great rounds of golf and a lot of help from his friends to stand a chance of winning the MENA Tour title in the fiscal equivalent of a photo finish in Phuket this week. So far, so good, although not if you are pals Tom Sloman or David Langley.
The penultimate day of the ‘2020+ Journey to Jordan’ season, all 836 days of it so far thanks to the pandemic, produced what seemed unimaginable drama only 24 hours earlier.
Both Sloman, the current money list leader, and second-placed Langley went from on the cut line bubble at -2 starting the second round to out of $75,000 Blue Canyon Open with rounds of 73 and 77 respectively on Thursday.
It left Hague (pictured) the only player still in with a shout of winning the J2J title and with it an invite to one of the Asian Tour’s upcoming $1.5 million-plus International Series events.
It is still going to take some real Friday fireworks for the 25-year-old from Malden to pip Sloman for the crown.
Having started the final event $3696 behind his fellow Englishman, Hague knew he’d have to finish at least fourth to have any chance. That hasn’t changed although with Sloman and Langley walking away with nothing but frustration to show from the final event of the Beautiful Thailand Swing (BTS), at least Hague’s fate is in his own hands entering the final day of the longest season.
After rounds of 69-70, Hague will start the final round at -5, six strokes behind co-leaders Dodge Kemmer (USA) and Vanchai Luangnitikul (Thailand).
It is likely to take a score in low 60s to sneak into the top four but at least he has that chance.
“I’ve had good final rounds in the last couple of years which have won me tournaments or got me close to winning and that’s exactly what I’ll be looking for tomorrow,” said Hague who won the Royal Golf Club Bahrain Open in February with a closing 71.
Hague came into the final event having missed the two previous cuts and with just $378.75, minus tax, to show for a T-48 finish at swing-opening Laguna Phuket Challenge.
Frustratingly, there was more post-pandemic rustiness from his putter on Thursday which will make his final round mountain tougher to climb.
“Today was very good tee to green, I just couldn’t get the ball in the hole. I had three three-putts which let me down, it’s always a momentum stopper just when I kinda got on a bit of a run,” he said.
“To be honest I was trying to get a couple of shots better by today to give me a good chance of a top-three tomorrow really. I need a top three and Tom and David to kinda falter a little bit. It’s an outside chance but time will tell.”
As it turns outs a solo top-four finish will do the trick, something Sloman is only to well aware of after missing the cut by one.
“Yeah I am a littler bit [disappointed] but it is what it is isn’t it,” said Sloman. “Hopefully I hang on but if Dave [Hague] has a good round, good on him, yeah.”
Langley (pictured above), who finished +3, wasn’t as accepting of his fate in the immediate aftermath of his 77, a round which spiralled out of control after he started feeling unwell early on his inward nine.
“I couldn’t see, I felt like someone had punched me and I was drunk,” he said of a back-nine negotiated in 41 strokes, five-over. “It wasn’t great and then I chugged a bunch of water on 12 and I felt okay-ish on the last three holes but I was still all over the gaff.”
Perhaps still in disbelief, Langley wondered if he had been the victim of dehydration in the steamy Phuket conditions. “That was the only thing it could be but then I wasn’t massively dehydrated either. That is it, it’s over if I’ve missed the cut.