Ruaidhri McGee is taking a relaxed approach into the final round of the Blot Open de Bretagne as he goes in search of his first professional victory on the Challenge Tour in Pléneuf, France.
The Irishman is tied for the lead alongside England’s Alfie Plant after a three-under 67 moved him up to nine-under-par for the week, the same score he found himself on after the opening round of the tournament following a superb 61.
McGee has finished in the top-10 on 12 occasions on the Challenge Tour since 2014 and has finished runner-up once, so he has experience of competing at the business end of events but has not yet managed to get over the line.
However, the 31-year-old is focusing on playing smart golf in round four in a bid to finally get his hands on some silverware, backed by a solid performance in Saturday’s third round at the links-style Golf Blue Green de Pléneuf Val André.
“I hit a couple of poor shots to start but luckily chipped in for birdie on the second hole,” he said. “The wind was strong out there and you have to focus on choosing the right club because it can change at any moment.
“It’s tough because I played so well in round one and you get used to seeing everything go into the hole. After hitting a few poor shots yesterday, I kept trying to push and became too aggressive. It’s important to just relax and let it happen.”
McGee started the day three shots off the lead of Robin Sciot-Siegrist, who fell to third after a two-over 72 dropped him back to seven-under, but after bogeying his opening hole the Irishman chipped in for the birdie at the par-four second and backed that up with another birdie at the par-three third.
Another birdie dropped at the par-four eighth, although his next birdie, at the par-five 11th, came in between dropped shots at the 10th and 12th. However, he would finish strongly with birdies at the par-three 15th and par-four 18th to set the clubhouse target at nine-under.
It seemed Plant would surpass him after three birdies took him two shots clear, but back-to-back bogeys at the 16th and 17th saw him come back down into a share of the lead to set up and exciting final day shootout.
“It’s going pretty well so far,” he said. “It was tough out there today and I maybe let it slip a little bit at the end. I’m joint leader going into Sunday and I don’t think I could of wished for much more than that. I’ve got a game plan out there and its up to me to execute it.
“People don’t see what’s going on off the course because I’ve had a lot going on in my life recently. I’ve been working as hard as ever on my game and sometimes it just takes a while to click. I feel good this week and hopefully it continues.
“I’ve won in France before and there’s no reason why I can’t do it again. I’m in pole position and it’s going to be a great battle tomorrow.”
Despite a disappointing third round, which saw him card five bogeys, a birdie and an eagle in a two-over 72, Dermot McElroy is still just outside the top-10 at three-under, while Gavin Moynihan did well to bounce back from four bogeys in his opening six holes to limit the damage to a 71 that drops him down to two-over and a share of 31st.