| 17.4°C Belfast

Jonathan Caldwell moves into top ten ahead of final round of the British Masters


Brolly up: Jonathan Caldwell on the 16th hole at Close House GC

Brolly up: Jonathan Caldwell on the 16th hole at Close House GC


Brolly up: Jonathan Caldwell on the 16th hole at Close House GC

Jonathan Caldwell is in the top 10 with one round to go at the British Masters and well on course for his best European Tour finish so far.

The Clandeboye golfer added a four under par 67 in Friday's third round to reach 10 under par for the week and go into Saturday's final round in a tie for eighth, just five back of leader Renato Paratore.

To date, his best top tour finish is a tie for 14th in December's Alfred Dunhill Championship but another positive round on Saturday and he can surpass that mark.

Friday's was his first bogey-free round of the week, now on a run of 34 holes without a drop-shot.

It's Caldwell's first start since the Tour swung back into action, having missed out the opening back-to-back events in Austria.

Having come through Tour school in November, Caldwell is playing only his second season on Europe's top tour, the first coming way back in 2009, when he failed to retain his card.

He will have no such issues this year, with playing rights set to be retained for 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Nonetheless, he'll be hoping to finish higher than his current 136th place ranking in the Race to Dubai. Normally, a top 115 spot is required to retain the Tour card.

With South African Justin Harding and Denmark's Rasmus Hojgaard one and two shots behind respectively, another man in the thick of the chase is England's Sam Horsfield.

The 23-year-old, also searching for his first European Tour success, carded a breath-taking 10 under par third round at Close House GC in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne to reach 12 under, three shots back.

His 61 featured, amazingly, three eagles - each on par fives - five birdies and one bogey.

"I've never carded three eagles before in a tournament," he says, as if many have.

"The first one I hit a six iron to 35 feet, made that one, then on ten I hit a five wood to two feet for another two. Number three was a little unexpected, I had 50 feet up a ridge and it went in, so I'm not complaining.

"I felt like the first two days I was maybe pushing a bit too hard as I haven't played a tournament in four months. When you're playing at home it really doesn't matter.

"I spoke to a few friends last night, FaceTimed a few people, and they said "Just go out there and play like you were playing at home, it's literally the same." So that's what I tried to do today and I think it worked."

The second best round of the day went to another Englishman Jack Senior, whose eight under 63 featured a hole in one at the 14th, pocketing him a quick £50,000 bonus.

"It was a funny one really," he said. "Me and my caddie were umming and ahhing. The wind picked up into it a little bit and it was just a really good seven iron, the perfect number for me. It pitched about six inches short, one bounce past and it just swung back in there."

Belfast Telegraph