Tadini holds firm in windy Russia

9/8/2012 3:21:21 PM
Alessandro Tadini (Vorobiev Valeriy)  (EuropeanTour)
Alessandro Tadini (Vorobiev Valeriy) (EuropeanTour)
Alessandro Tadini held firm on a trying day at the M2M Russian Challenge Cup to maintain his two shot lead and keep his hopes of a second European Challenge Tour title in four weeks alive with a one over par round of 73.

In extremely testing conditions at the beautiful Tseleevo Golf & Polo Club, with a cutting wind blowing all day, only seven players shot under par and six of them were one under par rounds of 71, with Denmark’s Andreas Hartø signing for an impressive three under 69.

But Tadini managed to hang on despite an up-and-down round which included an eagle, three birdies and six bogeys and stay two shots ahead of the chasing pack heading into the final day.

Chasing his fifth title on the Challenge Tour, the 38 year old reached the turn in one under par thanks to a birdie at the seventh hole followed by an eagle three at the par five eighth hole, where he fired a three wood to 12 feet and knocked in the resultant putt.

While Ben Parker joined him at the top briefly midway through the day, three successive bogeys on the way home knocked the Englishman back and meant Tadini could afford to drop a shot each at the 10th, 12th, 14th and 16th holes, with birdies at the 15th and 17th keeping him out in front.

“It was very, very difficult out there today,” said the man from the Northern Italian town of Gozzano. “I’m very tired after that, it was windy and the pin positions were difficult.

“I played fantastic for the first eight holes today, then at the ninth I had a bad second shot and then the bad putting started and I didn’t play so well. Two under after eight holes was very good though.

“The second shot at the eighth hole was lucky because I wasn’t aiming at the pin and it turned in towards the hole, so that was good.

“I missed three short putts today but it was a hard day and tomorrow I will try to play better. I just need to keep playing my game tomorrow, it will depend on the wind and you need some luck if the weather stays like this and hopefully I can get some. “

Tadini has four players breathing down his neck on five under par with two of the most promising players on the Challenge Tour this year, Chris Lloyd of England and Morten Orum Madsen of Denmark, chasing their first wins after signing for a one over par 73 and a one under 71, respectively.

Two more experienced campaigners, Austria’s Florian Praegant (72) and Frenchman Alexandre Kaleka (71) are also just two shots back and Kaleka believes he may well have been closer to the lead if he had converted a few more chances.

The 25 year old has not won on the Challenge Tour since bursting onto the scene with victory on his professional debut at the ALLIANZ Open de Lyon in 2009, so he is keen to claim that elusive second win in Russia.

“It’s been a long time since my win,” said the Orleans-based player. “I miss it! I turned professional five days earlier and then won but if I win this year it will be a much better feeling than the last one.

“It was a good score out there today. To be honest I played well and I didn’t hole a lot of putts so it could have been a lot better but I would take that any day of the week, even without the wind.

“I think it’s going to be tough tomorrow as well. I'm confident. I just need to try and shoot a low score, even with the bad conditions, and we’ll see how I finish.”

Englishman Parker was a shot further back on four under par, in sixth place, after a one over par round of 73 while four more players retained hopes of victory on three under par – Chris Doak, Agustin Domingo, Mark Tullo and Peter Uihlein.