A second successive one-over-par round of 73 proved just enough for Rosapenna’s Ruaidhri McGee to make the weekend cut at the Shot Clock Masters in Austria.
After a hot day’s scoring yesterday, you would have thought for all the world that more was needed today but conditions proved tougher in Vienna and McGee hung tough to make the weekend action right on the mark at two-over-par.
Starting from the 10th, he was odds against to make it after four bogeys in his first five holes, but he bounced back with two gains on the spin and added one more on the way home with no dropped shots to sneak into the business end of the tournament without a shot to spare.
Unfortunately there was no Friday fairytale for Holywood’s Tom McKibbin who excelled yesterday on debut to return a one-under-par total amongst the big boys.
The 15-year-old found the going much tougher today and his six-over-par 78 signals a mere goodbye for now from elite company.
The Junior Honda Classic champion and the Doral Publix Jr Classic Orangebowl winner has an almighty future ahead of him and no doubt this experience will only enhance that.
McKibbin wasn’t the only Irishman leaving disappointed, however, as the search goes on for Dublin’s Gavin Moynihan to make a weekend cut as a fully-fledged member of the European Tour.
The Island golfer, who won the Golf Sixes event alongside good friend Paul Dunne, will be hoping that his spark for individual competition returns sooner rather than later after a 79 today left him well outside the required number on plus six.
Mikko Korhonen produced a big finish to sign for a flawless 67 and take a one-shot lead into the weekend at the buzzer-beater championship.
The Finn earned his stripes on the European Tour the hard way, making 12 trips to the Qualifying School – winning the Final Stage in 2014 and keeping his card in every season since.
He is still searching for a first European Tour win and if he were to do it this week, he would make history as the first winner of an event where every player in the field is on the clock for every shot.
Players are penalised a stroke if they do not play their shot in the allotted time, with three-balls getting round Diamond Country Club considerably faster than the season average so far.
Korhonen birdied three of his last four holes to stay bogey-free for the week and get to nine under, one shot clear of England’s Steve Webster and South African Justin Walters.
Local hero Matthias Schwab, 2016 champion Wu Ashun, veteran Spaniard Miguel Ángel Jiménez and Dane Jeppe Pape Huldahl were then two shots off the lead.
“That was pretty good but I didn’t feel as good hitting the golf ball today as I did yesterday so I’m very happy with the score,” said Korhonen.
“I’m sticking to my game plan, hitting a lot of fairways. I’m hitting a lot of irons off the tees here, just hitting the middle and taking it from there.
It’s a bit breezier today, the greens are getting harder, the fairways are getting harder, it’s a bit tougher. I just need to stick to what I’ve been doing and hopefully that gets me there.”
Jiménez looked set to be the man to lead into days three and four when he got to ten under early in the morning but he dropped three shots in his final three holes to allow first Webster and then Walters and Korhonen past him.