McGee rues late double but still moves into top 4 at Andalucía Challenge

Mark McGowan

Ruaidhri McGee (Image: Getty Images)

Ruaidri McGee followed up his opening 68 with a second-round five-under 69 to put himself in prime position going into the weekend at the Andalucía Challenge in Cadiz, while Conor Purcell went one better with a six-under 66 to safely book a Saturday tee time.

First off at 8am, McGee started slowly by bogeying the first, but birdies at two, four and six saw the ship turned around and it was on the early stages of the back-nine that he’d go full throttle. Birdies on 10, 11, and 14 were aided by an eagle at the 13th as he’d navigate the five-hole stretch in five-under to reach -7 for the day and -11 overall.

A double bogey at the 17th would take some of the gloss off the round, but he’d reach the clubhouse at -9 for the tournament and was provisionally in third place ahead of the afternoon wave, ultimately lying T4 at the end of day’s play.


Out 40 minutes behind McGee, Purcell would also take advantage of the prime scoring conditions with three birdies on the front nine and a bogey on the par-3 seventh that would be the only blemish on his card.

Birdies at 10 and 11 followed a birdie at nine as he’d make three on the trot and get to -4 for the day and added two more the par-4 14th and 17th holes to sign for a 66 that’d take him from the early cutline to tied for 22nd at -6.

Having led the Irish contingent after day one, John Murphy couldn’t build on his opening effort as he signed for a level-par 72 in round two to remain at -5 for the tournament. Having briefly gotten himself to two-under on the back nine, a double bogey at the par-3 15th proved costly for the Kinsale man, and he’ll need to go low on moving day if he’s to mark a rare Challenge Tour appearance with a victory.

Unfortunately, Dermot McElroy won’t be around for the weekend after a one-over 73 left him on -1 for the tournament and the cutline, which wavered between two and three-under, settled at the latter.

Overnight leader Sam Hutsby who fired an incredible three eagles in his opening nine-under, followed up with an early five-under 67 in round two to open up a strong gap. The Englishman reached 15-under for the tournament through 13 today, but a bogey on the 16th dropped him back to -14 where he’d remain until he was joined late in the day by Australian Jordan Zunic.

Zunic made nine birdies with just one bogey as he’d cover the 18 in just 64 strokes, with only Spaniard Eduard Rousaud, who shot 63 to climb to T22 going lower.

The duo enjoy a three-stroke advantage over Italy’s Filippo Celli, with McGee part of a six-man group at -9 that includes Alex Fitzpatrick.

Hutsby, who won the 2014 Kazakhstan Open, is hopeful his nerves can help rather than hinder him as he looks to secure a second European Challenge Tour title over the weekend in Cádiz.

“I’m very pleased with how I played today,” he said. “I managed to keep the good form going from yesterday. I got off to a very good start and I was four under through eight holes and managed to keep it steady after that.

“If you had given me a five under par round before I teed off today, I would have snapped your hand off. It was a great day. There were no eagles today I’m afraid, I must have used all of them yesterday. I’ve been swinging it well over the last two days and I’m glad I have been able to capitalise on it.”


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