Golf: Lloyd fights back at the Q school

Lloyd Saltman showed he's up for the fight as the European Tour qualifying school final nears a tense conclusion at PGA Catalunya in Girona.

With a gusting wind causing plenty of mischief, the Archerfield ace posted a battling level-par 72 over the Stadium course for a ten-under par 274 to finish in a share of eighth heading into the closing two rounds.

Saltman, four shots behind 72-hole leader Alfredo Garcia-Heredia in the race for 30 tour cards on offer, found himself on the back foot and slipping down the rankings when he leaked a trio of shots at the eighth, ninth and tenth. But the former Walker Cup star repaired the damage with back-to-back birdies at 14 and 15 as he took over the baton from older brother Elliot as the top Scot in the field.

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"It was a tricky day, with the wind and some tough pins, and it was the kind of day when you needed to scramble," said Saltman. "After those three bogeys, my back was against the wall so to speak and to come out of it with a level-par round is very pleasing. I'm happy I've had this kind of day because you need a battle sometimes."

Saltman's older brother Elliot, sharing the lead heading into day four, had his first major set back of the week when he slipped to an eventful two-over 74 on the Stadium course which dropped him down into a tie for 12th on a nine-under 275.

The 28-year-old, boosted by a putt of 20 feet for an eagle on the seventh, suffered a blow when he pulled his approach into a ditch on 14 and racked up a double-bogey before finding trouble in the bunker on 18 which led to another double-bogey six.

He said: "Two wee disasters have cost me. Hopefully that's my worst score of the week out of the way.

"I've fallen away a bit but as long as I finish in that top 30, then that's all that matters."

While the Saltman siblings ploughed on, there was late agony for Capital-based duo Andrew Coltart and Jamie McLeary, who missed the cut by a single shot.

The pair had both hit four- under 66s on the Tour course for two-under 202s and were looking good to qualify for the final two rounds on the limit.

But Sweden's Joakim Lagergren, playing in the very last match, picked up a birdie on his 16th hole in a 72 to push the cut mark up to three-under.

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Raymond Russell was another local casualty as he missed out on 286 after a 73.

"Two wee disasters have cost me. Hopefully that's my worst score of the week out of the way" elliot saltman