Dermot McElroy will take a one-shot lead into the final day of the Irish Challenge after posting a brilliant four under par round of 67 at Portmarnock Links.
The Northern Irishman finished the day at eight under par, one shot ahead of Spaniards Eduard Rousaud and Alfredo Garcia-Heredia and will go in search of a maiden Challenge Tour victory tomorrow.
McElroy was proud of his performance, especially his approach play, capitalizing with six birdies on day three.
“Tee to green I played very well. I hit 17 greens in regulation which is great. I only hit two bad shots and I managed to get away with them in the end which is great. I am very happy with my score it was a good finish.”
The 27-year-old made a birdie on 15 in very adventurous style and admitted to being very fortunate.
“I normally just hit three wood on the 15th tee, but the wind switched on the back nine. It was the south east and then it switched to east, so the wind was just straight off the right. I wanted to get down past the corner because I did not want to be hitting a blind shot.
“I hit it about 50 yards right and luckily your cameraman found it for me, and it was sitting like a coconut. I had about 150 yards, so I was able to hit a pitching wedge to about 30 feet and managed to hole it for birdie.”
Despite crowds still not being allowed at Challenge Tour events, the round three leader enjoyed having a few spectators watching from Portmarnock beach.
“It was brilliant. Before I hit the putt I just wanted to hear the cheers and luckily it was a good putt. I wish we were allowed crowds because when I am playing well at home I do miss it.”
Experience European Challenge Tour campaigners feature in the hunting pack tomorrow. Two-time Challenge Tour champions Borja Virto and Daan Huizing share fourth place on five under par while another Challenge Tour winner, Gary King shares sixth place on three under par with Northern Ireland’s young talent Tom McKibbin.
The final round of the Irish Challenge will begin at 7am local time on Saturday May 30, with McElroy teeing it up alongside Rousaud and Garcia-Heredia at 10:33.