Caldwell puts the foot down on moving day and takes a share of the lead

Mark McGowan

Jonathan Caldwell (Photo by Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images)

Jonathan Caldwell fired a third-round five-under 67 to move into a share of the lead alongside Oliver Farr and Darren Fichardt at the Le Vaudreuil Golf Challenge at Golf PGA France du Vaudreuil.

Clandeboye’s Caldwell sat on +1 for the tournament with 22 holes in the books, but he’s picked up 11 strokes in the ensuing 34 and now has a golden opportunity to pick up his first victory since capturing the Scandinavian Mixed back in 2021. Today’s 67 followed on the back of the same score in round two, and included an eagle on the 14th and a birdie-birdie finish to reach ten under par for the week.

“I’m delighted,” Caldwell said afterwards, “it was challenging to say the least, with the wind getting up and a bit of rain early on. I played nicely, controlled my ball nicely, I kept it out of the long rough and managed to save some pars when I needed to.”


One-under on the front, Caldwell did most of his scoring on the back side, and he feels it’s the easier of the two nines. “Yeah, the back nine is a bit more scoreable,” he said, “there’s a few more par-5s. The front nine is tricky, it’s shorter, but it’s a lot tighter and you really need to be accurate off the tee. The back nine gives you more birdie opportunities.”

“I knew it was going to be a grind,” he added, “I knew under-par would be a good score and probably would’ve left me in a good position going into tomorrow so it was really about staying patient, keeping a high number off the card in those conditions and trying to pick up the birdies when you hit the good shots.”

“I’m really looking forward to it,” he replied when asked about the prospect of being in the final group in Sunday’s final round, “it’s been a while. I’ve been playing pretty dreadful for the whole season so it looks like things are starting to turn the corner. I’ve been working hard and I’m really looking forward to tomorrow.”

Niall Kearney, who played alongside Caldwell, also matched his second-round tally with a second successive 71 that sees him move into the top-10 at a golf course that yields birdies but proves punishing for any shots that are poorly executed.

The Dubliner started with 12 consecutive pars, but a birdie and three bogeys over the following four holes saw him slip to tied for 25th, before a grandstand eagle-birdie finish saw him roar back into contention and he’ll go into the final round just four back at -6.

Fichardt, from South Africa, played the front nine in level par before registering four birdies and two bogeys coming home to sign for a two under par round of 70 and join Caldwell at ten under.

Welshman Farr, who began the day one off the lead alongside Fichardt, made inroads at the earliest opportunity when he birdied the difficult par four first. Despite a bogey at the eighth, back-to-back gains at the 11th and 12th gave him the outright lead before a bogey at the last saw him join Caldwell and Fichardt on ten under par.

Farr, a three-time winner on the Challenge Tour, is looking forward to being in contention again on a Sunday having last tasted victory back in 2019.

“It feels like I haven’t been at the top of the leaderboard for a while,” he said. “It was nice to see that I was up there after two days and after three days I’m still up there competing to try and win this thing.

“I made some good birdies and even though I didn’t quite have my game how I wanted it, I battled well. I’ll just try and do more of what I’ve done the last three days. I haven’t done anything too spectacular, but hopefully more of the same will be enough on the last day.”

The 35-year-old has had a mixed season on the Road to Mallorca, registering back-to-back top ten finishes in March, then missing the cut in his last six outings before arriving in France. With blustery conditions in Normandy, Farr is enjoying the tactical challenge of plotting his way around the course.

“You’ve got to think your way around this course,” he added. “I definitely would’ve taken that score at the start of the day.

“It wasn’t easy out there. There was a lot of wind and this course is fiddly at times without any wind, so today was extra tricky. Whenever you see that it’s windy and rainy, you know you’re going to have to really grind.”

Englishman Richard McEvoy, who won the Le Vaudreuil Golf Challenge five years ago in 2018, signed for a bogey-free four under par round of 68 to move into fourth place, one shot off the leaders.

Three players share fifth on eight under par, including Portugal’s Tomas Gouveia, South African Yurav Premlall and Swede Christopher Feldborg, with English duo Jamie Rutherford and Ashley Chesters, Ireland’s Niall Kearney and Italian Lorenzo Scalise one shot further back in eighth on six under par.


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