Mooney shoots one-under to remain in contention at Legends Tour Final Qualifying

Mark McGowan
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Damian Mooney (Photo by Patrick Bolger/Getty Images)

A third-round one-under-par 71 saw Damian Mooney move to -2 on the leaderboard, and to remain in contention for one of five Legends Tour cards at the Final Qualifying Stage at Turkey’s Gloria Golf Resort.

Having endured a rollercoaster second-round where he carded just seven pars but was even for the day, the third round was a little more straightforward, noting 15 pars, two birdies and a solitary bogey.

The bogey came at the fourth, dropping the Lough Erne pro to level-par for the tournament, but he bounced back straight away with a birdie at the fifth and added another at the par-5 ninth to make the turn in one-under. Nine straight pars on the inward nine was enough to see Mooney edge a shot closer to qualification, albeit one place lower on the leaderboard in solo 17th.

“I played a bit more like I normally play today,” Mooney said afterwards, referencing his up-and-down second round and battling first round “I just didn’t take all my chances. I played alright, I suppose, and the holes I didn’t really like [over the first two days] I played them better today.

“I can’t complain, just a few putts didn’t drop, a few went over the edge, you know, but you can’t change that.

“Everybody will be going out tomorrow, and God, it’ll be squeaky-bum-time so it depends where they put flags, how the course will play, but hopefully a few chances will come along.”

Having lost two balls in yesterday’s round, one of those getting stuck in a tree canopy, there was no such drama today; “I did well today,” he joked, “managed to keep the same ball I started with so I was very happy. One of the lads I played with yesterday, played with him again today, and if he hit it five yards off line he reloaded every time after seeing what happened to mine yesterday.”

Englishman Keith Horne leads on -9 after a blistering 66 – the joint lowest round of the week – with fellow countryman Simon Griffiths a shot further back alongside Spaniard Carlos Balmaseda at -8. There’s then a three shot gap to the five-way tie for fourth, and the final two qualification spots.

“I’ve got to let go a bit tomorrow,” said Mooney, who has 12 players between himself and that all-important final card, “I played a couple of the par-5s sort of cagey, where I might’ve just been able to get up but decided to leave it 80 yards or 100 yards back to play a wedge shot in, whereas tomorrow, I’ll probably go for those.”

Unfortunately, Mooney is the only Irish player to have made the 54-hole cut, with Brendan McGovern missing on the number after shooting a two-over-par 74 to post +4, David Higgins shot 76 to finish +6, with Joe Lyons two shots further back on +8 after posting 74.

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