Ronan Mullarney shot a brilliant back nine of 30, six-under-par for a bogey-free seven-under par 64, to lead the 2023 Hauts de France – Pas de Calais Golf Open by two heading into the final round.
Starting on the back nine, Mullarney shot a solid one-under-par 34 before bursting into life on the front nine. The Galway man carded four birdies in the last seven holes and an eagle on the last to lead by two over Italy’s Manfredi Manica on 11-under-par.
Mullarney is already a winner this season as he captured the 31st edition of the Gösser Open and finds himself in third place in the current Order of Merit standings. Despite the outstanding finish Mullarney admitted that his round didn’t feel as spectacular as it looked, citing his short game and concentration as a big positive.
“My short game was very good today, my long game was ok, but honestly, nothing really stood out. I’ve been working really hard on my putting, chipping, and wedge play, so it feels good. It added up to a good score, but it definitely didn’t feel as tidy as maybe it looked but I’m very happy.
“It’s really tricky out there, to be honest, there is a lot of concentration going on. I tend to play better on those types of courses so there are a lot of things to be thinking about. I will focus on golf, and I’ll worry about the rest later as I don’t have time for it”, he told the media after the round.
When asked about competing in a mixed event with the LETAS, Mullarney acknowledged that, “It’s nice, we are not really mixed so it doesn’t really feel we are in the same exact tournament, but it’s nice. This is the best tournament we’ve played the whole year by far, the organization and everything that goes in it is brilliant here. It’s probably the best golf course also, for sure one of them.”
And as for looking ahead to the final round tomorrow and what he wants to achieve, Mullarney said, “To win, I have to be one shot better than the next person. That’s it.”
Paul McBride combined four birdies with a bogey and a double bogey for a one-under-par 70 to make the cut and sit in a tie for 20th place on level par.
The 2023 Hauts de France – Pas de Calais Golf Open is a co-sanctioned tournament between players from the Alps Tour and the Ladies European Tour Access Series. Slovenia’s Katja Pogacar retained her lead after two rounds after a second round of four-under-par 69 for a total of 10 under-par.
Abigail O’Riordan shot a disappointing three-over-par 76 to miss the cut on five-over-par.