England’s Stuart Davis and Michael Hoey of Northern Ireland are just one shot off the pace at the TIM Peru Open with 18 holes to play. The British duo trail Brad Sutterfield of the USA by one stroke going I to the final round at Los Incas Country Club in Lima.
Davis had an excellent 67 to put himself right into contention for what would be a maiden Challenge Tour victory, with the 24 year old putting together an eagle, six birdies and three bogeys to join Hoey in a tie for second place on eight under par 208.
Hoey got it round in two under par 70 on the third days play and is hoping that he can improve even further upon his excellent results in Latin America.
The 25 year old former British Amateur Champion and Walker Cup Winner finished 17th at the 47th Abierto Mexicano de Golf – the first event of the 2005 Challenge Tour season – and then took third spot at last weekend’s Panasonic Panama Open.
Those results have been good enough to take Hoey to sixth place on the early season Challenge Tour Rankings, and he can improve that position with victory in Peru.
“I have a good chance,” Hoey confirmed after the third round. “I just need get stuck in and get the job done. It will take a good low score but it’s possible. This golf course is a bit linksy, and with the bit of wind we had today even more that style of golf. You can hit low skippers into some of these greens and use the lie of the land to your advantage.
“Generally I think a low score is possible, now whether I can produce it, well for that, we can only wait and see. At least I have an opportunity if I play well.”
Sutterfield managed to hold onto the lead that he had shared after round two by carding a one under par 71 during the third round. The 35 year old, a winner on the Canadian Tour in 2004 who finished 11th in the Canadian Tour’s Order of Merit, had a wonderful opportunity to draw further ahead of the field over the closing holes but stumbled, dropping two shots in his last two holes.
“I got off to a great start,” Sutterfield said. “I hit it very close the second, thought I’d rolled it in at the 3rd but it stopped on the lip. Then after I made three good length par putts, birdied the 8th and so I was two under at the turn. I hit it stiff again at the 12th so I was three under by that stage and coasting but what stung was dropping shots at the last two holes.
“I hit a nice little greenside chip at the 17th, or so I thought, but it rolled and rolled then at the 18th I stuck my tee shot in the trees and had no option other than getting back into play with my second shot.”
Sutterfield’s two dropped shots ensure that the Argentine duo of Gustavo Rojas and Julio Zapato are still very much in the hunt for the TIM Peru Open with their three round aggregate scores of seven under par 209, while Germany’s Kariem Baraka (six under par) and any of the seven men currently on five under all have a chance to take this the third Challenge Tour title of the 2005 season.