After looking like a two horse race, the battle for the Brabazon Trophy is anyone’s guess after a day in which the leaders were confused by the changing conditions at Seaton Carew while the pursuers eagerly closed the gap with a great deal of satisfaction.
Ben Stow and Ryan Evans were locked together at the top of the leaderboard at the start of the day but both returned 75 which allowed Ireland’s Cormac Sharvin to slip in on the blind side with 70 for a three-way tie.
The trio now share the lead on seven-under-par 212, just a stroke ahead of a group of six including three Scots, an Irishman and two home players while four more lie in wait a further shot back on 214.
The early starters enjoyed sunshine and a light breeze but as the day wore on so conditions deteriorated with the wind increasing accompanied by some light rain. “The course seemed to change during the round,” said Stow (image © Leaderboard Photography).
“With the rain the greens seemed to slow a little but they still looked fast. It was a bit confusing. “My round was not pretty. I struggled off the tee, couldn’t find the fairways but I made a few up-and-downs and just about kept the score going. You could say it was a good, bad round.”
Stow, who had four birdies in his 75 added: “I’m not disappointed and I’m looking forward to a good day tomorrow. There is all to play for.”
After his second round record-breaking 66, Evans found it a tough day. “It was a grind,” he said, agreeing with Stow that the rain. “The course was again fiery early on but the rain had an effect. They looked fast but turned a little slow and it played on your mind.
“I didn’t play that badly but I hit a few silly shots and only made two birdies. I putted well but I didn’t hole much. It was a tough day and there are a lot of players who can win. I just hope I can come out on top.”
While the leaders were faltering, Sharvin made his move with seven birdies in his 70, five coming in a back nine of three-under 35.
Contrary to the first two days, generally the course offered up scant reward for a lot of effort. Sharvin’s 70 was matched by Scots Greig Marchbank and Craig Ross, who also closed in on the leaders but the best round of the day was played by England’s Harry Casey.
An early starter, his 68 was the only sub-70 return and hauled him through the field from equal 37th to joint tenth, two strokes off the lead. “I owed a lot to my wedge play,” he said.
“The pins were a bit tricky but I hit a lot of shots close. I found the conditions similar to the previous days and I gave myself a lot of chances. I knew I needed a good score today because the leaders were a good way ahead.”
Casey, who was out in 32, had six birdies on his card, including four-in-a-row from the eighth. But others were caught out, not least Seb Crookall-Nixon whose 79 for 220 saw him lose ground.
Source: England Golf