Conor Purcell hopes to see a few more putts drop on Sunday to compliment his superb ball striking as he hunts a top-10 finish in the final round of the UAE Challenge in Abu Dhabi.
Purcell carded a three-under 69 to move into a share of 15th place at Saadiyat Golf Club and he lies just one shot shy of the top-10 and three away from fifth place.
The Portmarnock man finished well with two birdies in his last four holes and he hopes to litter his card with red numbers on Sunday.
“Another solid day’s work, I’m hitting the ball really well and giving myself plenty of chances but the greens dry out a lot here so I find them tricky to putt on. Trying to hole as many as I can but didn’t quite make the most of it today.
“Trying to move up the leaderboard and give myself a chance of a high finish. The way I’m hitting it I feel confident that I can finish high up the leaderboard and I’m looking forward to doing it.”
Manuel Elvira will take a two shot lead into the final day after carding an impressive seven under par round of 65 on moving day.
The Spaniard birdied three of his opening four holes to take the solo lead having started his round two shots behind playing partner Craig Howie.
The 26-year-old registered eight birdies and just one bogey to top the leaderboard at 14 under par, two shots clear of Germany’s Maximilian Rottluff on 12 under par.
Elvira, who holed a 50 foot putt on the last to extend his advantage, made the most of favourable scoring conditions to shoot the second lowest round of the week, and was pleased to put himself in a position to contend.
“I hit some good shots throughout my round, except maybe the last few holes,” he said. “Even then, on 18, I didn’t hit the best shot and I was hoping for a two putt, but it went in so that’s one of those bonus shots.
“Today was good. It was an easier day I would say and less windy than the first couple of days. I had to make a few adjustments but I stuck to my game plan.”
Elvira is searching for his first win on the Challenge Tour having come close already this season. He finished in tenth place at the SDC Open in February before a tied second result at The Challenge presented by KGA, and he’s hoping to go one better tomorrow.
“It would mean a lot. I’ve been close a couple of times this season. I’m trying to knock on the door as much as I can, and I have to break it open.
“The plan is just to stick to what I’ve been doing. Be aggressive when I can be and be conservative when I have to.”
Rottluff surged up the leaderboard with a new course record 63 to get within two of Elvira. Two shots further back in third is Spaniard Ivan Cantero Gutierrez on ten under par, with overnight leader Howie in fourth on nine under par.
Road to Mallorca Number One Ugo Coussaud moved into contention with a four under par round of 68 to get to eight under par, where he’s joined by South African Jaco Prinsloo, England’s James Allan and Italian Matteo Manassero.
Paul Dunne carded his third successive level-par 72 while Ruaidhri McGee props up the field on three-over after a 76.
The final round will get under way at 7:00am local time, with Elvira teeing it up in the final group alongside Rottluff and Cantero Gutierrez at 8:48am.
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