A fine third round from Conor Purcell moved him just inside the top-10 at the Farmfoods Scottish Challenge as he had the right kind of moving day at Newmachar Golf Club.
The Portmarnock man shot a four-under 67 at the Aberdeenshire venue – the second best score of the field on day three – to move up to four-under-par for the week and into a share of 10th, but unfortunately it looks like he won’t be mounting a title challenge on Sunday.
That’s because while Purcell had the second best round of the day, Switzerland’s Jeremy Freiburghaus was the best by a considerable margin, a seven-under 64 taking him to 11-under and giving him a four-stroke lead heading into the final day over Tom Sloman and Nathan Kimsey.
That should take nothing away from Purcell, though, who is in a rich vein of form at present having strung together several strong results on the Alps Tour and was in right in contention at last week’s Challenge de Espana until the final day, and he continued that at Newmachar in his third round.
The 24-year-old dropped an early shot at the par-four third, but after that he was flawless as he bounced back with a birdie at the fourth and then strung together four straight birdies starting at the ninth to shoot up the leaderboard.
While there will be some frustration he couldn’t pick up one more shot on his way back to the clubhouse, it’s another late tee time on a Sunday for Purcell, who will hope on this occasion he can secure a big finish and a decent payday.
If it is to be a winning weekend for the Irishman then he will need the fantastic Freiburghaus to drop away, the 25-year-old Swiss pulling away with a bogey-free 64 that saw him open with three consecutive birdies and add four more before the end.
That has him as the only man in double-figures at 11-under, four ahead of Sloman and Kimsey who are tied for second at seven-under, with Scotland’s Kieran Cantley the leading local player at six-under-par after a third round 68.
It wasn’t a great moving day for either Paul Dunne or John Murphy, however, as both slid down the standings after making Friday’s cut on the number thanks to rounds of 73 and 75 respectively.
Dunne was up and down for the first 14 holes of his day, four birdies and four bogeys cancelling each other out, but bogeys at the 16th and 17th saw the Greystones man end the day two-over and in a tie for 56th at three-over-par.
Meanwhile, a promising start from Kinsale’s Murphy led to him picking up two birdies in his first three holes, but from there it turned sour as he dropped five shots before the turn thanks to three bogeys and a double, and three bogeys in his final five holes saw him fall to 65th at five-over.