Pulkkanen leads by two in Seville as Mullarney & McElroy drop back

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Tapio Pulkkanen (Image: Getty Images)

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Galway’s Ronan Mullarney endured a tough day at Real Club Sevilla Golf as he carded four bogeys and just the one birdie in a round of 75.

Mullarney now finds himself down in T59 position some twelve shots off the pace being set by Finland’s Tapio Pulkkanen. Dermot McElroy is a further two shots adrift in T68 position having also taken 75 strokes in a more mixed bag that included four birdies, three bogeys and two double-bogeys.

Pulkkanen now takes a two stroke lead into the final round of the Challenge de España after he recorded a five under par round of 67 on moving day to reach 12 under par for the week, two shots clear of Englishman Jamie Rutherford who birdied the closing hole to move into solo second.

The 33-year-old made his only blemish of the day on the second hole, before responding immediately with a birdie at hole three.

Pulkkanen carded back-to-back gains at the eighth and ninth, and then again at the 13th and 14th before a closing birdie at hole 18 saw him move into a strong position with one round to go in Andalucía.

“It was a good round today,” he said. “I made a three-putt bogey on the second hole and the guys in front of me were making birdies, so I was a little behind at the beginning.

“I got it going on the eighth hole, made another birdie at the ninth, and I had a really good back nine.

“The greens were a bit softer today, so they were a bit more responsive to spin. I was a bit surprised because that hasn’t been the case the last two days, but I’ve got a feeling they’re going to be firm again tomorrow. I’m looking forward to the challenge.”

Pulkkanen has started the Road to Mallorca season in fine form, recording three top 20 finishes in his last four starts to climb up to 23rd in the season-long Rankings.

The Finn is hoping for more of the same when he tees it up tomorrow as he goes in search of a first professional win in seven years.

“Last time I won a golf tournament was in 2017 at the Kazakhstan Open so that’s a while ago,” he added. “Of course it would be nice to win, but I’m going to do what I’ve been doing and I hope it’s enough.

“I think I have a good game plan on all of the holes here, so we’ll see how tomorrow goes.”

Dane Rasmus Neergaard-Petersen is well-placed to challenge for a third win of the season, a result that would see him earn immediate promotion to the DP World Tour. He shares third place on nine under par with Spaniards Joel Moscatel and Alfredo Garcia-Heredia, and French duo Félix Mory and Sébastien Gros.

Norwegian Andreas Halvorsen and Frenchman Martin Couvra are one stroke further back in eighth.

The final round of the Challenge de España gets under way at 8:00am local time with Pulkkanen teeing off alongside Rutherford and Moscatel at 10:00am.


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