Head to head

Head to head

28/11/2019

Colm Moriarty and Jason Levermore traded birdies on the second day of the PGA Play-Offs at Antalya Golf Club to go into the final round one shot clear of the field.

In doing so Ireland’s Moriarity (above) and Levermore of England both negotiated the PGA Sultan course at the home of the PGA National Turkey in five-under-par to go eight-under for the tournament.

Their rounds of 66 are the best posted in the tournament thus far and, with apologies to the third member of their three-ball, Scotland’s Alastair Forsyth, there were times when the format resembled matchplay.

Both birdied the par-five fourth to go four-under before Levermore (below), who is attached to Little Channels Golf Centre in Essex, put daylight between them.

Three more birdies on the front nine propelled him to seven-under at the turn and two shots clear of his rival from Glasson Hotel & Golf Club, Co Athlone.

Both birdied the par-four 10th before Moriarty slipped further behind by dropping a shot at the par-four 11th.

But that only served to light the blue touch paper for the Irishman. He responded with birdies at 13, 14 and 15 and, with Levermore atoning for a dropped shot at 14 with a birdie at 16, the pair will go head to head again in round three in pursuit of victory.

They will be joined in the three-ball by Rustington Golf Centre’s Mike Bullen, the reigning PGA Assistants’ Champion and recent winner of the Australia’s National Futures Championship at Ballarat Golf Club.

Having shared the lead with Andrew Willey and Ashley Mansell after day one thanks to a bogey-free four-under-par round of 67, Bullen’s response was contrastingly unpredictable.

A birdie at three was erased at the next hole before an eagle at the par-five took him to six-under at the turn. Another birdie at the short 17th kept him hot on the leaders’ heels, as did an astonishing recovery at the par-four 18th after he deposited his tee shot onto the 16th fairway behind a thicket of trees.

Fortunately there was a route through the foliage and Bullen (above) negotiated it, arcing his ball through the gap to within 30 yards of the pin en route to a chip and a putt for par.

His co-leaders meanwhile experienced contrasting fortunes. Oakmere Golf Club’s Willey is on six-under after a round of 69 but Mansell of Clevedon Golf Club followed up with a two-over-par round of 73 to slip to tied 10th.

Nevertheless, while winning the tournament is probably beyond him, a top five finish remains in view.

That carries a place in next year’s Betfred British Masters which will be hosted by Lee Westwood at Close House in July. And with seven shots spanning the leading 13 players, the competition for them will be keen.

Likewise the battle to finish first which, as well being worth £3,500, qualifies the winner to play in next year’s BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth.

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