Jonathan Caldwell was very pleased with his ball striking on a devilishly windy day in round three of the Irish Challenge as he kept his hopes of a win and a Horizon Irish Open place alive.
Caldwell carded sixteen pars on Headfort’s New Course with a birdie on 14 and a bogey on 17 as he signed for a level-par 71 and a six-under total which leaves him in a share of seventh place and four behind leader Kristoffer Reitan.
“I played pretty solid overall, drove the ball well, hit a lot of fairways, hit a lot of greens, not particularly close in that wind but I was pleased with the ball striking and that’s how the sixteen pars were formed,” said the Clandeboye man who arrested a run of thirteen straight pars with a birdie at the par-5 14th.
“In those conditions thirteen pars, it would have been nice to have got a couple of birdies earlier on but the wind really got up. Regardless if it was a birdie or bogey, managed to keep doubles off the card on a day like today is important. I knew I was playing well, to get the birdie was nice, to give it away not so nice.”
The best score of the day was four-under-par courtesy of Emilio Cuartero Blanco while leader Reitan carded a three-under 68. Despite not making a move on his score, level par was good enough for Caldwell to move up the leaderboard by a spot as he kept his hopes of a second tour win alive as well as the added incentive of a place in the Horizon Irish Open field as top Irishman which he currently shares with overnight co-leader Conor Purcell.
“Very blustery and very difficult for club selection, lots of cross winds and some tight pins with the winds not in favour so basically leaving yourself 30 and 40 footers and two putting.
“Pleased with where I am on the leaderboard, if I can continue to play like I am and get a few more putts to drop I can give myself on the back nine come tomorrow.”
The aforementioned Purcell carded a three-over 74 to fall out of the lead and back to six-under.
It was a tough day for the 26-year-old who endured a torrid start, double bogeying the fourth and dropping another shot on the fifth.
A bogey on 8 really left him on the ropes as at that stage he was six off the pace and was no longer the leading Irishman.
A birdie on the tenth brought a brief reprieve before he handed it back on 11 but a solid finish of a birdie on 14 and the rest pars have kept him in the picture on both fronts.
Meanwhile, Kilkenny amateur Mark Power admitted he actually played better than Friday despite shooting one worse with a 69 to move onto four-under-par and into the top-20.
Conor O’Rourke of the K Club carded a level-par 71 to remain on one-under inside the top-40 while a poor back nine saw Jonathan Yates slip back to 45th on level-par after a 72.