Top 10 within reach as Purcell shoots in the 60s again at Andalucía Challenge

Mark McGowan

Conor Purcell (Photo by Octavio Passos/Getty Images)

A three-under par 69 saw Conor Purcell climb up the leaderboard on moving day at the Andalucía Challenge, while Ruaidhri McGee was left ruing a late double bogey that saw him navigate the round in level-par.

After a blistering 66 in round two, Portmarnock’s Purcell found the going much tougher in round three as he’d make the turn at level-par with two birdies and two bogeys on the card. He’d kick into gear on the back nine, however, with a par at the 12th sandwiched by back-to-back birdies on either side as he’d get to four-under for the round and -10 overall. Unfortunately, a bogey at the 16th killed the momentum, but closing pars would see him sign for a three-under 69 that took him to a tie for 12th on the leaderboard at -9.

He’s joined on that number by MeGee, who reached the midpoint of his round at -1 for the day thanks to two birdies and one bogey, and another birdie at 11 saw him draw to within three of the lead, but for the second day in succession, a double-bogey at the par-4 17th proved costly, and he’d drop to tied 12th alongside Purcell and they’d end the day six strokes off the lead held by Filippo Celli.


John Murphy had a day to forget after a tough opening nine holes saw his chances of marking a Challenge Tour start with a win disappear and he’ll just be looking for a confidence boosting closing effort where he’ll start from +2.

Italian Celli led for the majority of the third round, before dropping his second shot of the day at the par four 17th but responded with a sublime closing birdie to reach 15 under par, one clear of overnight leader Sam Hutsby and French amateur Martin Couvra who share second place.

The 22-year-old was delighted with the way he bounced back from the two blemishes on his card and is feeling confident ahead of the final round in Cádiz.

“I played really solid again today,” he said. “I made a couple of bogeys but that is golf, and I was able to bounce back. My ball striking was very good and I’m happy because I’m back in contention again. Tomorrow is going to be very fun and there a lot of players chasing me.

“My aim was to focus on my own game and play well today. That’s what I did and now I need to concentrate again tomorrow. I made a bogey on 17 but on 18 I hit a really good seven-iron to one metre. It was a great birdie.”

Celli won the Silver Medal at The 150th Open Championship at St Andrews last year and he is now looking to become the third consecutive Italian winner on the Challenge Tour, following four-time DP World Tour winner Matteo Manassero and 2013 Challenge Tour Number One Andrea Pavan’s recent triumphs.


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