EDINBURGH’S Neil Fenwick had a point to prove in today’s final round of the Northern Open despite slipping nine shots behind runaway leader James Byrne at Meldrum House.
Six adrift at the start of the day, Fenwick’s hopes of landing a first Tartan Tour Order of Merit title were dented by a one-over 71.
It put him on three-under for the tournament, well adrift of Byrne after the Banchory player shot a third straight 66 to stay on course for a maiden victory in the professional ranks.
“It was a tough day out there,” sighed Fenwick, who was annoyed with a double-bogey 7 at the 16th.
Playing in the group behind, Byrne eagled the same hole – his second on the back nine – as did defending champion David Law earlier in the day on his way to a spectacular 63.
“I was just a foot out of bounds, but it was a bad shot,” said Fenwick, who, in fairness, bounced back well from that setback over the closing two holes.
He almost eagled the 17th, hitting his drive there to around ten feet, then put an 8-iron close to the hole at the last, a par-3.
“I now need a really low one in the final round to have any chance of winning,” declared Fenwick, who is attached to Dunbar.
“But I am also chasing valuable Order of Merit points so the higher I can finish the better.”
Law’s 63 – one more than he shot in the same round 12 months ago – was one of the best rounds in the event’s long history.
It catapulted him into a share of second place alongside two seasoned Tartan Tour pros in David Orr (66) and Jason McCreadie (68).
“I can’t believe someone shot 63 out there today – that’s a great effort,” noted Fenwick of Law’s score. “He must have canned everything!”
Braid Hills-based Paul McKechnie also trailed Byrne by nine shots heading into the last round after a third-day 70 left him in a tie for sixth as well.
West Linton’s Gareth Wright (69) and former Mortonhall man David Patrick (70) were both a further shot adrift, while Duddingston’s James McGhee and the unattached Mark Kerr were in the group tied for 13th on 210 after matching 70s.