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Poke extends advantage as Final Stage cut falls

Poke extends advantage as Final Stage cut falls

Benjamin Poke remained in control on day four of European Tour Qualifying School Final Stage as he expanded his lead to three shots at Lumine Golf Club.

Benjamin Poke day 4

The Dane is in pole position with two rounds remaining after posting his fourth consecutive sub-70 round, a four under par 67 on the Lakes Course, to reach 16 under par, while his closest challengers, Korea’s Jinho Choi, S.S.P. Chawrasia from India and Finland’s Sami Valimaki share second place on 13 under par.

The 27-year-old has led the six-round tournament since day two and following a bogey-free fourth round, which included two birdies in his final three holes, he will now look to earn a European Tour card for the first time in his career.

“The conditions were a bit calmer but I still started off a bit slower, like I did yesterday," Poke said. "I just kept hitting fairways and greens but missed a few greens around five and six and managed to scramble in nicely, which kept the momentum going a bit.

"I’ve not given where I finish much thought, to be honest. Obviously, it’s a goal for everyone but I feel like I’ve got nothing to lose really. I’m just going do my best and see what happens.”

Choi charged up the leaderboard with the joint low round of the day at the Lakes Course, a seven under par round of 64, as he aims to regain his European Tour playing privileges, while 21-year-old Valimaki also pulled himself into contention with a six under par under round of 65.

Chawrasia, meanwhile, continued to safely navigate his way through the six-round marathon with a four under par round of 67. The four-time European Tour winner was helped by an ace on the Lakes Course’s 186-yard fourth hole, one of two hole-in-ones recorded today on the par three, with Frenchman Robin Sciot-Siegrist also holing his tee shot en route to a 67 of his own.

A six-way chasing pack, which includes Germans Hurly Long, Nicolai von Dellingshausen and Marcel Schneider, Englishmen Toby Tree and Marcus Armitage as well as Frenchman Adrien Saddier all share fifth place on 12 under par.

The Final Stage cut line, which is limited to the top 70 players and ties after four rounds, fell at four under par, with 77 players making it through to the last two rounds. Each player who bettered the 72-hole benchmark is guaranteed full status on the European Challenge Tour for 2020, with the top 25 players and ties earning European Tour cards after the sixth and final round.

Ewen Ferguson charged up the leaderboard on day four with an eight under par round of 64, which marked the low round of the tournament at the Hills Course and took the Scot from outside the cut line, to tied 17th, inside the number for a European Tour card.

The attention now turns to the Lakes Course where the 77 remaining players will contest each of the two remaining rounds.