Saturday, July 11, 2015

Slovakia Challenge report and scores

Doherty, McLeary in the mix with a round to go
Jeff Winther is aiming to become the first Danish winner on the European Challenge Tour since 2012 as the 27 year old takes a one shot lead into the final round of the D+D REAL Slovakia Challenge, courtesy of a six under 66 which included a third consecutive birdie five at the par six 15th.
Winther sits atop the leaderboard on 13 under but to earn a maiden title he will have to fend off the challenge of the tour’s most in-form player, Portugal’s Ricardo Gouveia – chasing back to back victories after his win in Germany last week - as well as experienced Scot Jack Doherty.
They are both a shot off the pace on 12 under par, while promising Spaniard Borja Virto Astudillo is in fourth place on his own on 11 under.
The leader, from Kokkedal near Copenhagen, is another man in form right now having recorded a career-best tied third finish at last week’s AEGEAN Airlines Challenge Tour by Hartl Resort and he is hoping he can continue his impressive form, especially on the unique 15th hole – the first par six to be played competitively nder the auspices of The European Tour.
“It was a flawless round really,” said the three-time winner on the satellite Nordic Golf League. “It was fantastic to play so well, it just felt awesome.
“I have made very few mistakes all week and I’ve been hitting 95 per cent of the fairways so that really helps. My iron play is solid and I have missed no more than seven greens this week.
“But there is still one more day to go and I just need to try and go out there and enjoy it tomorrow. There are plenty of birdies still out there and it will be interesting to see where they put the pins tomorrow.
“It feels like the 15th is a hole where you have to make a five. You can reach easily in three and I haven’t been hitting on hoping to make a one-putt for eagle. I’m just getting it up there in three and taking the two-putt for birdie.”
Andreas Hartø was the last Dane to win on the Challenge Tour, coincidentally at the D+D REAL-sponsored Czech Challenge three years ago, and Winther is hoping he can break that duck on the final day in Slovakia before eventually following in the footsteps of his many compatriots who have come through Europe’s top developmental tour before going on to European Tour success.
“That group of players, with Morten Ørum Madsen, JB Hansen, Andreas and Lucas Bjerregaard, seemed to cruise through the Challenge Tour and that’s maybe why we haven’t seen a Danish winner here in a while,” he said.
“Jeppe Huldahl has come close recently and I think he will again because he is a great player but I’ll try my best to get a win and hopefully I can do it.”
Gouveia has been on superlative form of late, making every cut this season and finishing in the top 20 in all but one of his nine appearances this year, and he feels he is in the kind of form where a six or seven under par round is always within his reach.
“I do feel like that but at the moment I’m just thinking about my long-term goals and to just keep playing well,” said the 23 year old, who carded a three under par third round 69. “It was a little frustrating today because there were a lot of missed chances and good birdie opportunities and it’s those little things that make the difference.”
Doherty, meanwhile, is hoping to follow in the footsteps of his close friend and last year’s winner Andrew McArthur and, having been in contention in Switzerland last month, the 33 year old still feels as if he is learning on the job and improving all the time.
“I played nicely,” said the Australia-born player after a four under third round 68. “I was in control of my game and I was more relaxed than I thought I would be.
“It’s definitely a boost to have been in this position recently and the more you do that the better you become at it. I like the way the course is set up and I’m looking forward to the final round now.
“Andrew texted me on Thursday evening when I was leading and just said good work, and I’m sure I’ll get a wee text from him tonight. It’s good to know that he’s won it before and it gives me a bit of a boost to know it’s out there for me.”


Par 216 (3x72)
203 J Winther (Den) 66 71 66,
204 J Doherty  (Sco) 65 71 68, R Gouveia (Por) 69 66 69,
205 B Virto Astudillo (Esp) 69 67 69,
206 J McLeary  (Sco) 68 70 68,
208 N Kearney (Irl) 68 71 69, S Jeppesen  (Swe) 70 65 73, J Sjöholm (Swe) 68 70 70, S Tiley (Eng) 70 71 67, L Claverie (Esp) 71 65 72, A Björk (Swe) 70 68 70,
209 D Huizing (Ned) 71 70 68, P Howard  (Eng) 69 68 72, J Hansen  (Den) 70 70 69, S Henry  (Sco) 73 70 66,
210 S Wakefield (Eng) 68 74 68, J Robinson (Eng) 73 68 69, M McGeady (Irl) 70 68 72,
211 R Evans  (Eng) 69 72 70, T Sluiter  (Ned) 69 69 73, P Tarver-Jones (Eng) 72 70 69, T Linard (Fra) 71 69 71, J Heath  (Eng) 70 71 70, B Etchart  (Esp) 68 72 71,
212 J Guerrier  (Fra) 70 71 71, A Snobeck  (Fra) 70 71 71, C Hinton (Eng) 71 71 70,
213 J Girrbach (Sui) 68 74 71, J Lima  (Por) 69 71 73, R Enoch  (Wal) 70 71 72, S Fallon (Eng) 70 74 69, W Besseling  (Ned) 67 72 74, A Knappe (Ger) 70 73 70, C Arendell (USA) 74 68 71, D Stewart (Sco) 69 72 72, L Gagli  (Ita) 69 73 71, N Kimsey (Eng) 75 69 69, D Vancsik (Arg) 73 66 74,
214 M Schneider (Ger) 71 70 73, F Praegant (Aut) 73 68 73,
215 B Stone (RSA) 74 66 75, J Glennemo (Swe) 74 70 71, G Murray  (Sco) 71 71 73, S Walker (Eng) 69 74 72, J Makitalo  (Fin) 73 70 72, J Fahrbring (Swe) 70 74 71, G Porteous (Eng) 71 72 72, M Wiegele  (Aut) 71 73 71,
216 D Gaunt (Eng) 66 74 76, D Ulrich (Sui) 68 74 74, A Tadini (Ita) 68 74 74, J Rask (Swe) 72 72 72,
217 N Ravano (Ita) 70 73 74, R Davies (Wal) 71 73 73, E Cuartero Blanco  (Esp) 71 71 75, B Åkesson (Swe) 70 70 77, A Velasco (Esp) 73 68 76,
218 E Goya (Arg) 74 70 74, J Watts (Eng) 72 71 75, J Carlota (Por) 72 67 79, R McGowan  (Eng) 72 72 74, D Kemmer (USA) 74 70 74, J Kaske (Fin) 67 75 76,
220 N Bertasio (Ita) 72 72 76,




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