Golf: Scots on a birdie blitz at q-school

Scotland's golfing band of brothers launched a spectacular barrage of birdies during a purposeful third round for the home contingent in the European Tour's qualifying school final at PGA Catalunya.

On an ideal day for scoring in the north east of Spain, it was Elliot Saltman who led the challenge after a six-under 64 on the Tour course for an 11-under 201 propelled him into a share of the lead with Steve Lewton of England and Spaniard Alfredo-Garcia Heredia.

Saltman's sibling, Lloyd, fired a 65 for a ten-under 202 and a share of fourth, while Jack Doherty, with younger brother Paul on his bag, rocketed up to a ten-under tally with a sparkling seven-under 63.

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Frontrunner Elliot, 28, admitted he never expected to be leading the pack at the halfway stage of the six-round marathon, but the Archerfield pro is confident he now has the head for heights. "It's a great position to be in, but there are three rounds to go and I'll just focus on keeping my head, " said Saltman, after a neatly assembled five-birdie round.

Saltman's brother, Lloyd, with youngest sibling Zack acting as caddie, demonstrated his growing confidence with a bogey-free round, but it was Doherty who fashioned the lowest Scottish score of the day as he powered into contention for one of the 30 Tour cards on offer in his first appearance at the q-school final.

The former Australian Amateur champion ignited his round with a 6-iron to ten feet at the tenth hole - his first - and was swift to praise the 'Team Doherty' input of bagman Paul, the former Scottish Boys' champion. "Paul and I are great friends and he knows my game better than anyone," he said. "This is a whole new experience for me and Paul is helping me to relax."

Chris Doak, the Scottish PGA champion, indulged in the birdie-feast on the Tour course with a 64 for 204 to hoist himself into 14th, while Alastair Forysth continued his clamber up the rankings with two birdies on his last three holes in a three-under 67 for a three-under 209.

However, Marc Warren's desperate season looks set for a dispiriting conclusion as he sagged to a 76 for a six-over 220 and slid towards an early exit.