A fine up-and-down at the final hole at Galgorm Castle looks to have assured David Carey of his place in the final round of the ISPS HANDA World Invitational and he’s hoping to continue his momentum with another big finish on the DP World Tour.
The 26-year-old mixed an eagle with two birdies and two bogeys in a two-under 68 at Galgorm to move up to two-under-par for the week, which should see him inside the top-35 that progress to round four.
Carey is on a fine run that has seen him make his Major debut at The Open – and make the cut at St Andrews – before making his first DP World Tour cut at the Hero Open at Fairmont St Andrews two weeks ago, and he will be in the field for next week’s D+D Real Czech Masters, too.
And after another promising performance on moving day in Co Antrim, which assures him of at least a top-35 finish, Carey is keen to continue that momentum into Sunday and beyond as he keeps banking results that prove he belongs at this level.
“The Open, followed by the Hero Open and now this… it’s nice not to feel stressed that I’m missing cuts,” said the Dubliner.
“I know I’m at the level that I can compete at these events if I just tidy up a few things. Hopefully I can keep building momentum off the next few weeks, stay patient and keep chipping away.”
He added of his final hole, where he laid up short of the green and pitched to two-feet for birdie to secure his Sunday tee time: “It’s always nice when you feel like you need a birdie to move on to the next round and you don’t have to really try something reckless. Really nice way to finish.”
Even though he is likely too far back to make a Sunday run at the title at Galgorm, barring a performance that challenges leader Ewen Ferguson’s course record 61 from Thursday, it is still a very encouraging week for Carey in terms of how he is playing.
The man dubbed ‘Mr.57’ admits he has been ice cold on the greens the entire week and yet is still in for all four rounds at one of his home events and showed some fine iron and wedge play in his third round to keep him in the field.
A drive to 15-feet on the par-four second yielded an eagle to kick off his day, after just missing from 12-feet for birdie at the first, and after dropping a shot after missing the green at the par-three fifth, he got it back two holes later at the par-three seventh with a 14-foot putt.
And he cancelled out a bogey at the par-four 15th, where he found the water off the tee, with that tap-in birdie at the 18th to reach two-under-par and card a third straight round that could have been so much better if the flat iron was playing ball.
“I’ve played very nicely every day, I just haven’t putted well at all this week. Yesterday it was dreadful,” lamented Carey.
“Today it was two bad swings – a bad tee shot on 15 and one bad iron – but apart from that everything’s been really solid. It’s trickier today because the wind’s gotten up a bit and the ground is still firm. I left a few out there but it’s pretty good.
“I feel like I’m playing a lot better than my score. You can pick any number and I probably should have been that many strokes better yesterday, and I lost a couple shots at the end that was pretty much just down to frustration.
“I’m just trying to stay patient and at some point the putts will go in. I’m hitting some good shots that are finishing 10- or 12-feet long which, if they finished five- or six-feet away it might make a bit more of a difference. It’s fine differences between what I’m shooting and going really low.”