Ballymena’s Dermot McElroy muscled his way into the weekend rounds of the Challenge Tour’s Blot Open de Bretagne.
The EuroPro Tour regular, who’s been in fine form this season with a runner-up finish already on his resume, raced more than forty places up the leaderboard courtesy of a five-under par round of 65 that included seven birdies.
McElroy had been four-over par through 10 holes of the tournament but has transformed his fortunes with 11 birdies over his next 26 to move into contention at five-under par ahead of an exciting weekend in France.
Meanwhile, Ruaidhri McGee dropped into a share of fourth at six-under after adding a 73 to his opening 61 to remain in touch three shots behind Frenchman Robert Sciot-Siegrist.
McGee opened with a blistering 10-under 61 that included two eagles in a remarkable round that followed a 62 the previous week in the Czech Republic. This week is only the Derry golfer’s second Challenge Tour start in two years after taking a break from the game and moving to Florida during the pandemic.
Frenchman Sciot-Siegrist carded two bogeys in his first three holes before catching fire on the back nine with an eagle and four birdies to come home in 30 and set the target at nine under par, one-shot clear of Englishman Alfie Plant, who also posted a round of 67.
Sciot-Siegrist was delighted to turn things around after a slow start to his second round, and he admitted that a kind bounce on the par-five 11th hole enabled him to card an eagle.
“I struggled a bit at the beginning of my round,” he said. “I didn’t make any birdies on the front nine but luckily I had a great stretch on the back nine which brought back my confidence.
“I made an eagle on the 11th which was nice. I hit a 3-iron off the tee and found the rough but luckily hit a solid second shot which got a nice bounce and ended up 12 feet from the hole and I made the putt.”
The 28-year-old is expecting strong winds over the weekend, however he is confident that he will be able to battle the elements and continue his impressive form on home soil.
“It’s been a while since I’ve played a professional event in France so it’s nice to have the home support and see some familiar faces,” he said. “I can’t wait for the weekend because I’m in contention.
“It looks like the conditions will be tough, but I am going to keep being strategic with my game and hopefully make some birdies. Winning in France would mean a lot to me.”
The Island’s Gavin Moynihan carded rounds of 70 and 71 to also make the halfway cut.
- Full scoring HERE
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