Amateur Euan McIntosh leads Staysure Tour Qualifying School Final Stage at the halfway mark at Pestana Golf Resort.
The 2018 Scottish Amateur Champion has carded 12 birdies over the first two days in the Algarve, signing for rounds of 68-66 to take a one-shot lead over the field on eight under par.
“I’ve done this a few times now,” he said. “I’ve been to America twice, and I think it gives you a good preparation. You get used to it a little bit. America has been a good learning curve. The course here is in fantastic shape, which is great”
One of only five amateurs to make it to Final Stage, McIntosh acknowledged just how important it was to stay focused in a tournament where the stakes are so high. Staysure Tour cards, and full playing privileges for the 2020 season, will be awarded to the leading five players after four rounds, which means the margin for error is small and the patience required is great.
“You’ve got to try to win the tournament,” he said. “I’m normally not very good at these things. If it was a normal tournament it would be much easier but so far it’s gone pretty well.
“It’s an old cliché, but you hit a drive, and then the next shot is the next shot, and then the next is the next. You’ve just got to keep going.
“Something is going to happen where it’s not going to go your way, and you’ve just got to try and keep as much within yourself as possible.
“I made a double today on 12, we were four under par and cruising, and then all of a sudden you make a double and you think, ‘right okay, settle down, you’ve got a long way to go in this yet.’
“Tour schools are horrendous- the nerves. It’s been tough but it’s been enjoyable.”
Kiwi Michael Long and first round leader Carl Suneson of Spain sit one shot back in a share of second place on seven under par. Like McIntosh, Long successfully advanced through First Stage and is now closing in on his goal of securing a Staysure Tour card, while Suneson is bidding for a return to Europe’s over-50s circuit where he has played for the previous two seasons.
Rounding out the top five qualification spots are Canadian David Morland IV and Mark Booth of England who are locked in a tie for fourth place on six under par.
There will be a cut after tomorrow’s third round, which will reduce the field to only those players within eight shots of the last qualification spot.
Day three of Staysure Tour Qualifying School Final Stage begins tomorrow at 9:00 am local time, with the final group of McIntosh, Long and Suneson set to go at 11:00 am.