Jonathan Yates soared to the top of the leaderboard at the Alps Tour Grand Final in Modena as Gary Hurley put on yet another stirring finish to keep his promotion hopes alive.
Yates shot a second round six-under 66 to roar three clear on eleven-under-par, with Italian Stefano Mazzoli in second on –8 after a blistering 63 that kept his Challenge Tour promotion hopes intact and laid the gauntlet down to Hurley who he is trying to hunt down.
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Naas professional Yates carded nine birdies including three in his last four holes as he recovered from an opening bogey.
“I hit it stiff on 17 again today with a great shot to about 2 ft. On 18 I played it as a 3 shot hole and hit a wedge shot stiff. I’m very happy again,” said Yates who entered the week 20th in the Order of Merit.
Yates, who can’t earn automatic promotion to the Challenge Tour this week but is in Stage Two of DP World Tour Qualifying, registered birdies on the third, fourth, seventh, ninth, tenth and thirteenth before his blistering finish.
Overall, it was an enjoyable day on the golf course.
“Today was different than yesterday, my game wasn’t as good, it wasn’t as solid but my iron play was fantastic. Today was a fun day. I believe playing later in the day, the ball goes a lot further than earlier in the morning so maybe it plays slightly shorter but it definitely gets firm and fast. The greens are really good and rolling well as well.”
Meanwhile West Waterford’s Hurley put on another superb back nine effort to keep himself in the mix when he might have played himself out of it heading into the final round.
The 29-year-old, who occupies fourth spot on the Order of Merit, found himself four-over after six holes after dropped shots on the 4th and 6th highlighted by a double-bogey on his second hole.
He responded with aplomb landing birdies on the seventh and eighth to gather some much-needed momentum for the back nine.
The former Walker Cup player carded birdies on the tenth and fourteenth before he put himself back into contention with a superb eagle on the par-5 18th to come home in 32 for a two-under 70 and a seven-under 36-hole total.
Hurley is in a share of third place, four behind Yates heading into tomorrow’s final round.
Mallow man James Sugrue is on four-over after successive rounds of 74.
- Full scoring HERE