Third successive 68 sees Hurley remain in 15th ahead of final round at SDC Open

Mark McGowan
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Gary Hurley (Photo by Angel Martinez/Getty Images)

Mark McGowan

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Quite what was in store this week for Gary Hurley after taking an extended break was anybody’s guess, but you wouldn’t know it looking at the leaderboard as the Waterford man has shot the same score three days in a row at the SDC Open in South Africa – the season-opening event on the Challenge Tour circuit.

The same scores, but not in the same fashion, with six birdies and a double-bogey making up round one, bogey-free with four birdies in round two, and seven birdies and three bogeys the route on day three, all of which leads to a -12 tally and a tie for 15th, albeit seven shots off the lead with 18 holes to go.

The three bogeys today all came on the front nine which he bookended with fives on par-4s and another bogey-five at seven. The birdies came at two, five, six and eight, but the back nine was a lot less dramatic, this time starting and finishing with birdie and adding another on the 16th.

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“Yeah, it was up and down,” he said afterwards, “up and down with a few silly bogies from basic positions. But yeah, stuck in nicely there and finished strong. So, happy with the nice finish, two birdies in the last three holes.”

Seven back might seem a long way, but he’s only three strokes off fourth place and with the course providing the opportunity to go low should your putter heat up, getting in the mix is not out of the question, though he’ll need the leading trio to stall a little.

“Yeah,” he responded when asked if it would be all out attack from the off, “just we’ll see how we go – do a lot of the same stuff I’ve been doing.

“I got a bit unlucky a couple of times today as well. Like, I hit two trees in the middle of the fairway and kicked into the trees and those two holes, like they probably would have been birdie holes if that didn’t happen or eagle chances even.

“So it got a little bit unlucky today at times, but, yeah, tomorrow, if I do the same things and things go my way anything can happen.”

The men they all have to catch are Wilco Nienaber and Louis Albertse, both South Africans, who sit at -19 after rounds of 64 and 65 respectively, with Welshman Rhys Enoch trailing by one at 18-under.

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