Purcell in contention again as McGee stumbles on back nine

Ronan MacNamara

Conor Purcell (Photo by Octavio Passos/Getty Images)

Conor Purcell is hoping the lessons learned last weekend can give him that extra edge as he chases a maiden professional win at the Dimension Data Pro-Am at Fancourt Estate.

Purcell found himself in contention heading into the final round last week before a T7 finish saw him crack the top-600 in the world for the first time. It was a continuation of the form he has shown over the last six months and a second round 66 has him in contention again on nine-under-par, just three behind Adam Blomme and Luke Jerling.

The Portmarnock man believes if he keeps contending for titles he’ll eventually break into the winners enclosure.


“I played well last week and there was a lot of people in contention and when scores are low and people are shooting good scores it’s just a matter of who can hole the most amount of putts on the last day,” explained Purcell. “As a whole I did a good job on the last day last week, I didn’t focus too much on the outcome and stuck to my guns and played a good final day.

“It’s about putting myself in those positions and hopefully by law of averages you come out on top sometimes.”

The highlight of Purcell’s round was a closing eagle on the par-5 18th after seeing a 60-foot putt rattle the back of the cup. It was a slow start for the 25-year-old who had just one birdie and one bogey to show for his opening eight holes around the Montagu course before three successive birdies from the ninth shifted the momentum in his round.

Birdies on 14 and 15 saw him bounce back from a dropped shot on 13 before that stunning finish lifted him into a share of 5th place.

“A nice start to the week I’m very happy with how I’ve played so far. This course tests a lot of different parts of your game there’s obviously three courses so coming here I knew I probably wouldn’t get to see the whole place. I practiced 18 on the links which I played day one and navigated it quite well in the wind.

“Played the front nine of the Montagu which I played today and walked the back nine and felt like I did a good job as well. I was slow getting out of the blocks today, didn’t get much going then as I made the turn I rattled off three birdies in a row and gained some momentum and finished nice with a 60-footer for eagle across the green which made lunch taste a bit sweeter.

“I’m playing well, last week was a nice bonus to start the year with a top-10, never really know how you’re going to start the week after the winter, to continue that form this week is obviously great and I’m looking forward to the weekend.”

While Purcell powered home on the back nine, Derry’s Ruaidhri McGee went in the wrong direction. Once at nine-under after three birdies in his first seven holes he tumbled down to four-under before a birdie on 16 popped him up to five-under as he settled for a disappointing 73 on the Outeniqua course.

McGee’s only pars on his way home came on 17 and 18 after a run of three successive bogeys, a birdie, a double bogey, a bogey and a birdie saw him play the back nine in a chastening 40 shots as he fell seven off the pace.

“I started well and then just crawled back on the back nine, it wasn’t good. Just a bad day.

“It was pretty hot out there and it was a long day so it’s easy to get frustrated when you’re standing around in 30 degrees it’s challenging.

“I’ll take tomorrow as it comes, got to give it a go and climb up the leaderboard. If I can shoot a six or seven under on the links and put myself back in it, have a good round Sunday you just never know.”

Scoring HERE

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