The Press and Journal (Inverness, Highlands, and Islands)

Poke’s flurry of birdies edges Dane into the lead

- Sports · Golf · Vanuatu · India · England · Challenge Tour · Marc Warren

Ben­jamin Poke ex­tended his lead to two shots on day three of Euro­pean Tour Qual­i­fy­ing School, as the six-round marathon tour­na­ment reached the half­way stage.

The Dane, who re­cently com­pleted a strong rookie sea­son on the Chal­lenge Tour, carded four birdies and only one bo­gey to sign for a three-un­der-par round of 69 on Lu­mine Golf Club’s Hills Course.

The 27-year-old be­gan the day shar­ing the Fi­nal Stage lead but fin­ished with two late birdies to reach a three-round to­tal of 12 un­der par – two shots clear of his near­est com­peti­tor, Lars van Mei­jel.

Poke said: “It was nice to fin­ish with a flurry of birdies. I was hit­ting greens from the start but leav­ing my­self some long putts. By the time I got to the back nine I was strik­ing them bet­ter and hit­ting my ap­proach shots a bit closer and I man­aged to take ad­van­tage of that over the clos­ing holes.

“I haven’t re­ally looked at the score­boards this week or checked on­line after the round to see how

I’m do­ing and I’ve been watch­ing snooker over the last few days in the evening to take my mind off things.

“It’s a new day to­mor­row so I’m go­ing to try to ap­proach things the same way, en­joy be­ing out here and I’m look­ing for­ward to play­ing the next few days. I’m try­ing not to think about the top 25 at the mo­ment as I can’t con­trol what other play­ers are do­ing. I can only try to con­trol how I play and we’ll see where it all ends up at the end of the week.”

Dutch­man van Mei­jel, who also nar­rowly missed out on grad­u­at­ing to the Euro­pean Tour after a strong cam­paign on the Chal­lenge Tour, con­verted six birdies and an ea­gletwo on the Hills Course’s par-four 12th hole, to sign for a seven-un­der-par 65 and move 39 places up the leader­board.

Shar­ing third place on nine un­der par are In­dia’s SSP Chawra­sia and overnight joint-leader Toby Tree of Eng­land.

Scot­tish duo Euan Walker and Daniel Young are sit­ting tied 26th at the half­way point on five un­der with Marc War­ren one shot fur­ther back.

Craig Howie is three un­der and Ewen Fer­gu­son is two un­der, while Liam John­ston, sit­ting tied 121st on two over, will be look­ing for a low round to­day.

The field will be re­duced to the top 70 and ties fol­low­ing to­day’s fourth round. Any player sur­viv­ing the 72-hole cut will be guar­an­teed a Euro­pean Chal­lenge Tour card for the 2020 sea­son with the top 25 after six rounds earn­ing a place on the Euro­pean Tour.

 ??  ?? In the lead: Ben­jamin Poke of Den­mark
In the lead: Ben­jamin Poke of Den­mark
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