Caolan Rafferty was pleased to see his patience rewarded as he moved to within four shots of the lead after 36 holes of the St Andrews Links Trophy.
After a two-under 69 on the New Course, the Dundalk man made it successive rounds of 69 this time on the par 72 Old Course to climb to five-under-par.
The front nines on both courses have laid the foundations for Rafferty’s scoring and he birdied the third, seventh and ninth to turn in 33 on the Old before dropping his only shot of the day on 10. He birdied 18 to finish on a high as he moved up 17 places into a share of 11th place.
“Yeah I’ve played well over the two days, stayed really patient throughout today it was playing tricky, the pins were awkward so it was one of those days for staying calm and don’t get too greedy.
“I hit two lovely wedge shots close on 7 and 9 and that got me those birdies and gave me some momentum which is key in these events to keep you going. I made a bad bogey on ten, drove it in the fairway bunker which was a kick in the teeth but I held my score well on the way in. The wind was up so the last few holes played very tricky.”
The 2019 Walker Cup player is more of a part-time amateur these days as he balances a limited schedule with a Greenkeeping job in Dundalk Golf Club. However, his consistency has remained with finishes of 4th at the Lee Valley Scratch Cup, 7th at the Irish Amateur where he led through 36 holes before being beaten in a playoff by Alex Maguire at the East of Ireland last Monday.
“The few events I’ve played I have had a few good results, it’s nice to have the scorecard in the pocket and try and stay focused. Played well last week but didn’t get as many putts to drop and the same so far this week I’m not really holing much but I’m not making any big mistakes.
“Hitting a lot of fairways and greens as me and the lads used to call it ‘staying on the fags’ so we used to laugh about that one and I was talking to him the other day about it and it’s stuck with me!”
Despite his good form, the former West and South of Ireland champion refuses to get carried away with potential Open Championship exemptions and any Walker Cup berths in September.
“I know my game and I know how to play the game of golf and just being smart about it. I’m not trying to set the world on fire I’m just playing the way I know I can and playing the golf course I see in front of me and take chances when I can and playing really smart when I have to as well.
“Two more rounds on the Old, you don’t get it too often I’ll go out and enjoy it I have my cousin on the bag caddying so just enjoy the weekend and put two good rounds together and see where it gets me.”