Tuesday, 31 January 2017
Brendan McGovern  (Getty Images)
Brendan McGovern (Getty Images)

Brendan McGovern took a commanding lead at European Senior Tour Qualifying School Final Stage, moving six shots clear of the field as he makes his bid to secure one of the five cards available at Pestana Golf Resort, Portugal.

The Irishman carded a faultless five under par 66, matching his first round score on the Vale da Pinta Golf Course in the Algarve despite tricky weather conditions.

The 51 year old finished inside the top five at last year’s Qualifying School and is aware of what needs to be done to secure a card for the Senior Tour’s 2017 season.

Despite this, he is determined not to get carried away with 36 holes still to play.

“I’m not looking too much at the score,” he said. “I played solid. I made no mistakes today and got a good score.

“I wasn’t too worried about the bad weather because that would scupper any nine you play. I probably had the advantage of starting in the dry weather on what would be considered as the scoring nine – it’s not always that way.

“But I took advantage and made the turn in four under par. I then played solid on the front nine, my back nine. The good start helped me and I gave myself chances most of the way round.

“It’s still early days; there’s a long way to go and anything can happen on that course.”

Barry Conser

Sharing second place are the American pair of Barry Conser and Chris Hunsucker. Like McGovern, Conser also secured a Senior Tour card at last year’s Qualifying School.

“I needed a good round today,” said the American. “I played well yesterday but couldn’t get anything off the ground. It’s a case of putting one foot in front of the other.

“I wanted to post a good round today and take the pressure off a little bit. It was tough with the wind and the rain. It made concentration difficult.

“Anybody shooting under par today will be making a big move. Getting to four under, I knew I’d move up so I’m happy.

“You have to stay patient. It’s a golf course that can provide opportunities or also pose challenging shots. It’s not supposed to be easy, it’s a test and it ought to be hard.”

Chris Hunsucker

Compatriot Hunsucker said: “I need to take things one shot at a time and stay focussed on the task at hand. I’m striking the ball and rolling it well, I just need to keep making putts.”

In fourth place is Gary Rusnak on three under par, and one shot further back, in a share of fifth, are Jean Pierre Sallat and David Shacklady.

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