Purcell looking to chase down Fitzpatrick in Bangalore

Ronan MacNamara

Conor Purcell (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

Conor Purcell is hoping to go on a run over the final two rounds after opening his week at The Challenge with two solid scores of 68 in Bangalore, India.

Purcell is in a share of 15th place on eight-under-par and six shots behind Alex Fitzpatrick who has soared to the summit in sensational fashion with successive bogey-free rounds of 65.

The Portmarnock native has dropped just one shot so far this week coming on the par-4 2nd while he carded birdies on the 1st and 3rd before three in a row on 9, 10 and 11. Key momentum putts for par have kept the 25-year-old rolling so far.


“Very happy with the first two days work it’s been steady. Dropping only one shot is great and managed to catch some good breaks when I hit it offline had some gaps in trees. Held some great putts for pars to keep the momentum going so it’s been a great week on that aspect.

“It’s nice to be playing well before we take a couple of weeks break so it’s good to use these weeks as a test to see where the game is at and use the next few weeks to work on my game before we get busy in the summer

“I’m always looking to finish as high as possible and it’s great to be going into the weekend in the mix so just being in that position again and give myself a chance coming the back nine on Sunday and give it another run.

“Having played the course last week it kind of helps, some holes you don’t like it isn’t a great thing having to go back to them a lot. For the most part I am enjoying the course and I have figured out a way to get the ball around the course even when I’m not hitting it the best.”

Purcell is just a shot outside the top-10 but has his work cut out to catch the brother of US Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick with Alex chasing a maiden professional win over the weekend.

Fitzpatrick has looked in fine form over the opening two days, posting two eagles and ten birdies without a blemish to reach 14 under par after the first 36 holes in Bangalore, and he is keen to continue that run over the weekend.

“You can’t really ever complain with seven under,” he said. “I got off to a decent start. I hit a few bad shots but managed to get up and down which for me was a bit of a turning point. Luckily I holed a couple of good putts and then managed to have an eagle on five which kick-started it really.

“You don’t need to be aggressive with these flags and the greens are so good, you can hole putts. It’s hard to judge the wind around here. One minute it’s down wind, the next it’s behind and the next it’s off the left so you have to take a few more seconds to make sure you know where the wind it.

“I just didn’t hole as many putts on the back nine, but that’s fine. I don’t mind hitting it to 30 foot and two putting. That’s never going to do any harm.”

Fitzpatrick attributes his good form to the work he’s put in away from the course, and is enjoying his time in India after previously teeing it up in the Hero Indian Open on the DP World Tour in February.

“My game has been a bit up and down at times,” he said. “I feel like I’ve put in a lot of hard work and it hasn’t always paid off, and I feel like I’m playing a bit better and that hard work is starting to show. It’s the same game plan tomorrow and I’ll be trying to enjoy it as much as I can.”

After a long wait Ruaidhri McGee and Castle GC amateur Robert Moran both made the cut on the number on two-under-par after second rounds of 70 and 69 respectively.

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