By Brian Keogh
Ronan Mullarney. Photo by Golffile
Galway’s Ronan Mullarney added a 68 to his opening 69 to lead a seven-strong Irish posse into the final round of the PGA Europro Tour Q-School at Studley Wood in Oxfordshire.
The former Irish Close champion made five birdies in a four-under-par round at The Oxfordshire to share fourth place on eight-under-par, just four strokes behind leader Patrick Ruff, heading into Friday’s final round.
Stuart Grehan shot 67 and Conor O’Rourke a 68 at Studley Wood Golf Club to lie joint 17th on seven-under with Cameron Raymond (70) and Eoin Leonard (68) three shots further back on four-under.
Only the top 80 and ties made the 36-hole cut and both Cork’s John Hickey and Shannon’s Danny Brennan had to dig deep at Studley Wood to make it on the mark at two-under-par.
Hickey looked in trouble when he double-bogeyed the par-three eighth to slip back to one-under but he birdied the par-five ninth to make it with nothing to spare after a one-under 72.
Having opened with a 68 at The Oxfordshire, Brennan was four-over for the day with two holes to play and back to level par.
But he found birdies at the 17th and 18th to finish the day tied for 79th with Hickey on two-under.
Paul McBride also birdied his last two holes at Studley Wood but a 74 saw him miss the cut by a shot while Holywood amateur Tom McKibbin finished a shot further back alongside Brendan McCarroll (72-73) after a second successive level par round.
Portmarnock’s Conor Purcell finished three-over despite battling to a one-under 71 at the Oxfordshire while Kilkenny’s Luke Donnelly finished well back on nine-over after an 80 at Studley Wood.
Rounds of 67 and 66 from Sutton Coldfield's Ruff gave him a one-shot lead over Sam Broadhurst on 12-under.
The 87 players who made the cut will be bidding to make the top 30 and win a Category 3 card, the highest available from Q School supported by Sky Sports
Those ranked from 31st to 60th Category 6 with the players finishing from 61st to 80th getting Category 10.
Full categories for those who missed the cut can be found here.
Q School Supported By Sky Sports, Studley Wood [ST], The Oxfordshire [OX]
1 Patrick Ruff [ST] Sutton Coldfield Golf Club -12 67 66 133
2 Sam Broadhurst [OX] Unattached -11 67 67 134
3 Ryan O'Neill [OX] Penwortham Golf Club -10 65 70 135
T7 Ronan Mullarney [OX] Galway Golf Club -8 69 68 137
T17 Stuart Grehan [OX] Unattached -7 71 67 138
T17 Conor O'Rourke [ST] The K Club -7 70 68 138
T48 Cameron Raymond [ST] St. Annes Golf Club -4 71 70 141
T48 Eoin Leonard [OX] Wentworth Golf Club -4 73 68 141
T79 John Hickey [ST] Cork Golf Club -2 71 72 143
T79 Daniel Brennan [ST] Shannon Golf Club -2 68 75 143
MC Paul McBride [ST] The Island Golf Club -1 70 74 144
MC Tom McKibbin (a) [ST] Holywood Golf Club E 72 73 145
MC Brendan McCarroll [ST] West Cliffs Golf Links E 72 73 145
MC Conor Purcell [OX] Portmarnock Golf Club +3 77 71 148
MC Luke Donnelly [ST] PGA Catalunya +9 74 80 154