Russell keeps his nose in front in race for Tour card

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raymond Russell remained on course for a return to the European Tour as he carded a three-under-par 68 to enter the final two days of the Apulia San Domenico Grand Final five shots off Joachim B Hansen’s lead, in tied tenth spot.

The Edinburgh-born man knows he needs a good result in the European Challenge Tour’s final event to claim one of the 20 cards on offer for next season’s Race to Dubai.

Russell now sits inside the top 20 in the projected rankings after day two, in 19th place, and the 40-year-old believes that if he can improve on his decision-making at San Domenico Golf, he will have no trouble climbing the leaderboard.

“It was pretty solid again,” said the London-based player. “I just struggled with the wind. I know there wasn’t much today but I was just struggling to get pin high, which was a bit frustrating because I was hitting them right at the flag but just coming up a bit short or a bit long.

“It was just judgment calls. I got off to a nice start and, after that, I just didn’t hit it close enough. It was one of those days where I was just hitting half shots or big shots and not falling on my numbers, so three under was fine.

“I feel good so I have another two days to go and I’m not far off. I am just concentrating on doing well this week and if it adds up, then great. I just need to concentrate on this tournament.”

Chris Doak was a shot further back after he signed for a five under par 66, which moved him to tied 15th place on seven under par. The top 11 in the rankings receive a better category than positions 12 to 21 for next season, but Doak, who is currently tenth, is trying not to consider the various permutations.

“It was pretty much the same as yesterday but the putts just dropped this time,” said the Greenock man. “Hopefully, for the last two days, it will be the same and the putts will drop.”

Scott Henry is four-under for the tournament after a 68, and Andrew McArthur had a level par 71 to stay at one-over-par.