Caldwell the big mover as Irish fortunes take a turn for the better at Q-School

Mark McGowan

Jonathan Caldwell (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

Mark McGowan

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Jonathan Caldwell’s five-under was the pick of the rounds among the six Irish competing at DP World Tour Q-School at Infinitum Golf Resort in Northern Spain, and it moves the Clandeboye man within touching distance of the all-important top-25 at the halfway stage.

Playing on the Lakes Course – like he had in Friday’s opening round – Caldwell fired six birdies with his lone bogey coming on the sixth (his 15th) and the round was enough to see him move to -6 overall, climb 56 places on the leaderboard and at tied 33rd, he’s just two shots off the 10-way tie for 16th where the current qualification mark lies.

A former DP World Tour winner, a return to regular DP World Tour action would be a remarkable turnaround for 39-year-old Caldwell who looked to have his best days behind him as he laboured to a series of missed cuts in the early part of the season on the Challenge Tour.

At one-under, Mark Power is the next best of the Irish, and he rose 19 spots thanks to a two-under 69, but he’ll have a bitter taste in his mouth after a disappointing finish to what could have been an exceptional day. Also playing on the Lakes Course, Power birdied five of the opening 13 holes, and with two par-5s left to come, he was eyeing something in the low 60s, but a double-bogey-six on 15 was followed by a bogey on 17, and two pars on each of the par-5s saw him signing for end the day tied for 104th.

Conor O’Rourke is one shot further back, but was another who improved his position thanks to a three-under 68, and he’s one shot ahead of Conor Purcell who went one better than his Christian namesake as he skirted round the Lakes Course in 67.

Having opened with a best-of-the-Irish 68 on day one, Ruaidhri McGee followed with a 74 on day two and a 73 in round three saw him drop to +2 overall and into a tied for 29th.

Dermot McElroy, at +5, looks to be too far back and he’ll need to go really low on Monday if he’s to muscle his way into the top-70 – currently at -4 – who’ll compete for the 25 cards over the closing two days.

Italian Filippo Celli, a regular Challenge Tour participant in 2023, currently leads the way at -16, and he enjoys a two-stroke cushion over Spaniard Sebastian Garcia and Sebastian Friedrichsen of Denmark.

Englishman Joshua Berry, one of four amateurs who made it through to the Final Qualifying Stage, is tied for seventh at -10, and another three good rounds could see him relinquish his amateur status safe in the knowledge that he’ll be competing for potentially life-changing money on the DP World Tour circuit in 2024.


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