Gavin Moynihan will have it all to do over the weekend if he is to become a fully-fledged member of the European Tour following a second round one over par 73 at the NBO Golf Classic Grand Final in Oman.
Lying 18th in the Order of Merit standings, Moynihan is in need of a top-7 outright finish to break into the coveted top-15 who will earn their cards for next season, but finds himself in a tie for 26th after his day two struggles, currently six shots behind seventh.
The Dubliner was two over through three holes yesterday but started much better over the opening stretch today, converting a birdie chance on the par-5 3rd to move to three under for the tournament.
Two pars followed as he settled into his groove, but rather than build scores, Moynihan began to leak shots with bogeys coming at 6 and 8 as he made the turn in 37, in need of some spark on his homeward half.
He steadied around the bend and took care of the par-5 12h to get back to parity for the day, but he could add no more, instead dropping another on 15 and parring in thereafter for a frustrating finish.
He’s more than capable of going low tomorrow and he’ll need to, but with stakes so high this week a lot can change over 36 holes. No matter what happens he’s guaranteed some Tour starts next year, and he’s already admitted that anything from here’s a bonus, but when you’re this close it’s hard to not get greedy, and Gavin won’t be ruling himself out of the automatic qualification places just yet.
Winning may be beyond him now, however, as Estanislao Goya looks hell bent on a repeat of his 2008 Challenge Tour Grand Final win, leading by one shot at the halfway point.
The Argentinian, already a winner this season in Sweden, birdied the last hole at Al Mouj Golf to sign for a six under par round of 66 and reach 11 under par after two rounds in Muscat.
Another focussed on the top 15 of the season-long Road to Oman Rankings, Goya came into the week with work to do to improve on his 23rd spot.
Two good days have given him a strong chance, with his new projected Ranking at third, though he will be strongly chased by a truly international leaderboard, with players from Finland, France, Sweden, Poland, Australia, Germany and Spain all joining him in the top ten after 36 holes.
His nearest challenger is Finnish teenager Oliver Lindell, whose seven under par round of 65 – the low round of the week so far – was made all the more remarkable by the fact that his tournament preparation revolved around him starting six months of military service last week.
He sits on ten under par, one shot ahead of French duo Thomas Linard and Clément Sordet – who provided the highlight of the day when he made a hole-in-one on the eighth hole, at that point earning him a two-shot lead.
If things stay as they are, Goya and Lindell would both climb into the top 15 at the expense of Jens Dantorp and Robin Sciot-Siegrist, but much will change over the next two days before the Class of 2017 is finalised.