McElroy eyeing a top-20 finish as Wilson leads by one at the Open de Portugal

Conor Cantwell

Dermot McElroy (Photo by Johannes Simon/Getty Images)

Consecutive rounds of 69 by Dermot McElroy leave him tied for 24th and in with a shout of a good finish at the Challenge Tour’s Open de Portugal as Andrew Wilson leads the tournament on 15-under-par.

Wilson holds a one-stroke lead over compatriot Marco Penge, who has been within one stroke of the lead after every round of the tournament so far.

An erratic third round by Conor Purcell saw him finish the day with a 71, while Jonathan Yates finished strong to grab a share of 52nd after the penultimate round.


After two rounds of play, McElroy was looking the steadiest of the Irish competitors at the Royal Óbidos course and this translated to his third round play as the Northern Irishman replicated his score on the previous day.

Two pars to start the day preceded two birdies on the par-three third and par-five fifth putting the 30-year-old two-under-par through his opening five holes. A solid run of pars capped off his front nine and would continue this into his back nine.

Four pars to start McElroy’s return to the clubhouse mirrored his end to his opening nine holes before he landed his third birdie of the day on the 443-yard par-four 14th.

A run of pars to finish capped off a blemish-free round and leaves him on seven-under-par heading into the final round.

Conor Purcell meanwhile had an extremely up-and-down third round and will look back at it as an opportunity missed considering the number of birdies he scored in the penultimate round of the tournament.

Purcell began his round with a birdie on the second before a bogey-birdie run on the fourth and fifth. A third birdie of his front nine sent the 26-year-old into the back nine on two-under-par for the day.

The opening hole of the Irishman’s back nine sandbagged him as he triple-bogeyed the par-four 10th but he reacted well with birdies on the 12th and 14th which brought his score for the day back below par.

Another dropped shot on the 15th left him frustrated Purcell but again he reacted well by birdieing the 18th as he completed a rollercoaster round of golf on -5 for the tournament.

Jonathan Yates salvaged his round with a strong finish that included three birdies on his final five holes finishing the day on three-under-par for the competition heading into the final day of action.

Andrew Wilson’s blemish-free round of 65 was the best on the course today and afterwards, he spoke about his mentality heading into the final day a shot ahead at the top.

“The one aim for this week was to win,” Wilson declared, “Today I just wanted to go out there and put myself in a good position for tomorrow and I’ve done that, so I’m all smiles.

“On the front nine, you just need to stay patient and try to make pars. The back nine then really opens up. I feel like you can score better on the back nine which is what I did well today.”

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