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It was a day of two halves on the New Course and Gane took advantage of warm early conditions to get into the clubhouse before a heavy rain shower at 2.30pm and cooler overcast conditions after that. That was enough for him to remain in control of the tournament at the halfway point in the battle for five spots on the 2024 MCB Road to Mauritius.
Teeing off in the first group off the 10th tee, the Englishman picked up where he left off from yesterday’s bogey-free 66 with a birdie two at the 12th, and then parred his way to the turn. He circled another red number at the 1st but his first bogeys of the week on the 2nd and 3rd holes dropped him back to where he started the day.
The Englishman was able to bounce back on the next hole with a 6-iron to 20 feet and he holed the putt for birdie. Another at his final hole of the round, the par-5 9th, was enough for a solid score of 70 and a -8 total after 36 holes.
“I’m pleased because it’s always tricky backing up a score like that,” said the two-time Challenge Tour winner. “My phone lit up last night with everyone saying ‘play well’ and ‘same again tomorrow’, but it’s not quite as easy as that. I played really nicely again today. I had a bit of a wobble – I was bogey-free yesterday – but like London buses they came along with bogeys on the 2nd and the 3rd, but I managed to recover and, I’m really happy with two under.
“There’s still a long way to go and we’ve got 36 holes left, so I’ll just try and be patient. There are going to be mistakes, it’s a game of mistakes. I made a couple and I bounced back so I’m happy. I’m obviously in a great position, and there are so many other guys who would swap their position for mine straight away, but I’ve just got to keep doing what I’m doing and stay patient.
“I think if you’re playing well, it’s a lot easier. If you’re hitting it well, you know there are going to be good shots coming. It’s when you’re not playing very well, and you’re dropping a couple of shots, you’re kind of thinking ‘where’s my next birdie coming from?’. But I’m pretty confident, I’m hitting it nicely, and because of that, I can stay patient.”
David Shacklady and Jyoti Randhawa moved themselves into contention on -6 with the lowest and second-lowest rounds of the day, respectively. Three-time Legends Tour winner Shacklady finished wonderfully with three birdies in a row for a bogey-free 66.
Randhawa started on 10 and recovered brilliantly from two bogeys in his first four holes with five birdies and a spectacular eagle at the 18th en route to his 67. He took advantage of the par-3s with three 2s at the 6th, 15th, and 17th holes.
Lionel Alexandre, who finished 35th on the MCB Road to Mauritius last season, is alone in 4th after adding a 71 to his opening 68. The Frenchman had two birdies at 2 and 18, a bogey at 14 and he made a gutsy par save on the 9th – his final hole – after finding the water with his second shot.
It’s really tight around the edge of the top five with five players in a tie for 5th on -4, and 25 players within five shots of the last card going into the final two rounds. Alessandro Tadini, Carlos Balmaseda, Simon Griffiths, Andrew Marshall and Van Phillips are at -4, with Peter Wilson, Paul Streeter and Victor Casado in tied-10th on -2.
The top five players after four rounds will gain their cards to compete on the 2024 MCB Road to Mauritius, with a cut to only competitors within eight shots of the final qualifying spot (5th) after 54 holes. As things stand, 35 players are at +4 or better and would get through to the final round. A sudden death play-off will take place to determine the final qualifiers if there is a tie for the fifth and final spot.
Visit www.legendstour.com to see the full leaderboard, round three tee times and to find out more about Legends Tour Q School at Gloria Golf Club, Belek, Turkey.