David Law is still clinging on to a card-winning position in the Challenge Tour Grand Final despite a cracked driver head throwing his game into disarray in the third round in Ras Al Khaimah.
The Aberdonian slipped 15 spots to joint-23rd following a three-over par 73 at Al Hamra Golf Club, leaving him lying 14th in the battle for 15 European Tour cards heading into the final circuit.
As he tried to use a brand-new spare driver head, Law opened with three bogeys before then running up a triple-bogey 7 at the sixth, after which he used a 3-wood off the tee for the rest of the day.
“After I finished yesterday evening, I went out and hit a few drivers and when I finished I noticed that the top of it cracked,” said the 27-year-old, who has been in the top 15 on the money-list since winning the SSE Scottish Hydro Challenge in June.
“I put on a spare head that I had with me but I’d never hit it before. It’s brand new and it’s quite tough to get two driver heads that are the same. I hit a few with it, but they were all going right. I was trying to make it work and it’s not ideal for your swing when you are doing that.
“When you are trying to manipulate a shot, as I was trying to do, it goes right through the bag. I hit a few in my warm up this morning and it wasn’t great at all. I was hitting some left, which isn’t like me, and some miles right. I decided to give it a go but, after the first six holes, I hit 3-wood for the rest of the day.”
A bogey at the the tenth left him six-over for the day before four birdies in a row from the 13th repaired some of that earlier damage.
“It couldn’t have happened at a worse time, but it is what it is,” added the two-time Scottish Amateur champion. “I’m going to ask the officials if I can use the cracked one as it still seemed be flying okay but, if not, I will just have to use my 3-wood again. I just need to go out tomorrow and treat as I have any other round this season.”
Liam Johnston (eighth), Grant Forrest (tenth) and Bob MacIntyre (13th) are also on course to secure main Tour cards after solid efforts in the penultimate round of the season.
Johnston, a two-winner this season, made three birdies in a 70 to sit joint-ninth alongside MacIntyre, who mixed four birdies with four bogeys in his 72. Forrest had a 71 to lie in a share of 18th spot.
On a day when Spaniard Adri Arnhaus burst three shots clear at the top of the leaderboard with a 14-under-par total, Calum Hill jumped into the top 20 on the back of a 68 his best effort of the week.
“I putted really well after having my one blemish at third, where my tee shot hit the cart path and went into the bushes for the second day running. I was very angry after that,” said Hill, a winner in Northern Ireland earlier in the year.
“I need to finish first or second and, unless I shoot 59 tomorrow, that is not going to happen, especially if it is windy like this. I’ll be off to Q School if it doesn’t happen for me tomorrow and I’ll need six steady rounds of golf to get through that.”
Ewen Ferguson, the sixth Scot in the season-ending event, also needs a top-two finish but sits 13 shots off that target on two-over.