Confident Chris Doak ready for another tilt at big time
Chris Doak has tasted life on the European Tour before and the Greenock pro believes he is ready to dine at the top table again ahead of the closing round of the qualifying school final at PGA Catalunya in Girona.
The reigning Scottish PGA champion posted a neatly assembled four-under 68 over the Stadium course for an 11-under 345 and clambered up into a share of 12th, with the leading 30 and ties after today's closing round earning promotion to the tour.
Doak, who sits five shots behind joint leaders Simon Wakefield and Carlos Del Moral, came through the arduous q-school marathon in 2008, but, despite a share of 11th in the Andalucian Open the following year, the 32-year-old failed to hold on to his card at the end of his rookie campaign.
Doak is eager to learn from that experience, however, and with the finishing line now in sight, the former Tartan Tour No 1 is confident he will be far better equipped for an assault on the main circuit should his week reach a successful conclusion.
"People always say your first year on tour is your learning year," said Doak, who illuminated his bogey-free round with a three-wood to ten feet on the seventh which set up an eagle-3. "My game has become much more consistent since then and that was the one thing I realised that you need to have on the tour.
"Things like booking your flights and knowing what hotels to stay in and where to eat makes life on tour that bit easier. I know what to expect having done it that first year and if I get back there I feel I will be better prepared to deal with it."
Lloyd Saltman, striving for a place on the European circuit for the first time since turning pro in 2007, had to settle for a one-over 73 for a nine-under 347 and now has little room for error as he heads into a tense final day sharing 25th spot on the current card-winning limit.
The former Walker Cup player, three-over at the turn, rallied on the inward half and almost salvaged a level-par round when his monstrous putt from 60-feet for birdie on the 18th lipped out.
"I was almost really pleased with that round as it could so easily have been a 75 or a 76," said Lloyd. "It's better to be in the top 30 than out of it and I now have to make sure I stay in there."
Saltman's big brother Elliot, sharing the lead after three rounds, is now on the outside looking in after a second consecutive two-over 74 left him two shots off the current qualifying mark on a seven-under 349. "I need a round in the mid-60s, but I know there is one of those in me," said Elliot, who suffered under the weight of two double-bogeys and back-to-back bogeys.
Kilmarnock's Jack Doherty had a 73 for a 352 and heads into the last day five shots outside the top 30.
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Monday 20 May 2013
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