Spain’s Jose Manuel Lara joined New Zealand’s Stephen Scahill at the top of the leaderboard going into the last round of the First Cuba European Challenge Tour Grand Final at Varedero GC when the rain-delayed third round was finally completed this morning.
Scahill, needing to advance just one place in the Challenge Tour Rankings to secure his main Tour card next season, bogeyed the 11th and 12th holes but bounced back with a birdie on the 16th to stay at the top of the field. Lara, needing victory to be sure of moving into the top 15 in the Rankings and securing a Tour card for next season, shot a 69, three under to join Scahill in nine under par.
Play was suspended for four hours on Saturday and 12 players were unable to finish their third round before nightfall. When play resumed on Sunday morning, Scahill held onto his position at the top. Austria’s Marcus Brier, third in the Rankings, dropped two shots but remains a shot off the pace thanks to a birdie on the 14th. Brier is certain to be joining the European Tour next season, but victory this week could lift him above Iain Pyman into second place.
Sweden’s Kalle Brink, looking to bounce straight back onto the European Tour after losing his card this season, shot into contention by starting the third round eagle, birdie, birdie. But Brink lost momentum over night and bogeyed the tenth and 14th holes to slip back into a share of fifth place with a round of 70.
Another Swede Pehr Magnebrant, winner of the Norwegian Open and currently 36 in the Rankings, shot the round of the day 66, six under par, to move into a share of sixth place.
The top 15 in the Challenge Tour Rankings at the end of the final round will graduate to the European Tour. The third round will be completed on Sunday morning.