Italy’s Matteo Delpodio claimed a one shot lead during the third morning at the Qualifying School Final Stage thanks to three early birdies on PGA Catalunya Resort’s Tour Course, but it was Englishman Richard McEvoy who was making the biggest move of the day after reaching the turn in just 30 blows.
With conditions predicted to deteriorate from Tuesday onwards in northern Spain before the field is cut to 70 and ties after the fourth round, the 156 competitors taking on the 108-hole examination in Girona will know that a low score in Monday’s third round could prove crucial in setting up a successful week and there were plenty doing just that as Monday progressed.
Delpodio, who climbed the Final Stage leaderboard thanks to an excellent three under par 69 on the more demanding Stadium Course on Sunday, continued his weekend form into the third round, finding birdies at his first, third and fifth holes after starting on the back nine.
Playing the traditionally more straightforward Tour layout with the top half of the field after the overnight re-draw, Delpodio found himself one clear of a trio on eight under par, including first and second round leader Estanislao Goya, who was going along steadily at one under par through six holes, France’s Anthony Snobeck, and England’s McEvoy, who was rapidly putting together the round of the day.
In what is his first appearance at the Qualifying School since 2008, the 33 year old made five birdies in eight holes after also starting on the back nine of the Tour Course to climb 13 spots and into a share of second place.
With a congested Final Stage leaderboard continuing to tighten as the marathon contest neared its halfway point an intriguing afternoon was in prospect.