Friday, 19 March 2010
Challenge of Ireland  (Getty Images)
Challenge of Ireland (Getty Images)

A course record equalling 64 moved Scotland’s Richie Ramsay into the lead at the end of the third round of the AGF – Allianz Golf Open Grand Toulouse on the European Challenge Tour.

The 25 year old from Aberdeen was in scintillating form on the Golf de Toulouse course in Seilh as his sterling effort gave him a 15 under par total of 201 and a three shot lead over his nearest challengers; England’s Richard McEvoy, Argentina’s Miguel Rodriguez and overnight leader Marco Soffietti of Italy.

Ramsay, who became the first Scot to win the US Amateur Championship in over 100 years in 2006, immediately gave some of the credit for his prominence to his fellow countryman and fellow Challenge Tour professional Eric Ramsay.

Carnoustie-based Eric – who is no relation to Richie – is caddying for JP McManus in this week’s Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at St Andrews – but took time out during the Challenge Tour’s recent visit to Kazakhstan to offer a crucial putting tip to his good friend.

“Eric spotted something in my alignment when I was on the putting green out there and suggested that I tried something a little different and since then it has worked a treat,” said Richie, who claimed his maiden Challenge Tour title in August when he won the Vodafone Challenge in Germany.

“After winning in Dusseldorf and coming second in China, I feel I have got a really good and positive mental attitude at the moment and I think that is showing in my play. I am giving myself plenty of chances and taking plenty of them too.

“I finished with an eight under par round of 64 in the last Challenge Tour event in Holland last week and I have taken that form with me into this week and it is great I have been able to repeat the score too. Hopefully if I can play the same way tomorrow and continue to give myself chances, I can get the job done.”

Certainly if the Scot can reproduce his form on the back nine of his third round, he will be unstoppable. To the turn in two under par 34, Ramsay birdied the 11th from 12 feet before firing four successive iron approaches to within four feet at the next four holes for four more consecutive birdies. Then, for good measure, he rolled a final birdie putt in from 20 feet at the 18th.

“I’m currently 11th on the Challenge Tour Rankings but I really want to cement my place in the top ten who tend to get more playing opportunities on The European Tour,” he said. “It has been my dream to play full-time on The European Tour for years and hopefully if I can do the business tomorrow, I can sew that up.”

Best score of the trio of players currently in second place was posted by Englishman McEvoy who had eight birdies and only one dropped shot in an excellent 65. Highlight of Argentine Rodriguez’s 69 was an eagle three at the eighth while Soffietti’s rollercoaster round of 70 consisted of five birdies and three bogeys.

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Tournament Leaderboard

PosPlayer NameNatHolePar
1RAMSAY, RichieSCO18-19
2MCEVOY, RichardENG18-17
3JOHANSEN, Eirik TageNOR18-15
4REMKES, TacoNED18-14
T5STEINER, RolandAUT18-13
T5MCARTHUR, AndrewSCO18-13
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