Simon Thornton leads the Irish challenge with Dunne and McGrane well placed at Q-School

But it was a miserable day for Ruaidhri McGee.

Simon Thornton is six shots off the lead.
Simon Thornton is six shots off the lead.
Image: Adam Davy

SIMON THORNTON LEADS the Irish challenge for full playing rights on the European Tour next year after shooting a solid round of three-under on day two of the Qualifying School Final Stage at PGA Catalunya Resort in Girona today.

The Royal County Down player is four-under overall in a tie for 29th, taking advantage of playing the easier Tour course this afternoon.

He’s still outside the top 25 and ties who will secure a place on the European Tour in 2016 but he gave himself every chance of making that by turning on level par before shooting three birdies on the closing nine.

Open hero Paul Dunne was coolness personified, though he rued not capitalising on some superb iron play which gave him many chances for birdie, only two of which he took.

“I played really well and gave myself loads of chances from 10/12 feet but just went on a run of missing putts so that undid my good work,” he said.

“I hit it well, I only missed two fairways and three greens and gave myself six or seven chances from 10 or 12 feet but missed every time.

“Two-under is not exactly playing my way out of it but it was a round I could have capitalised a bit more on,” he added.

“Two-under is a grand score no matter where you play and if I shoot two under for every round from here on in I’ll be close enough to making the cut so it’s not too bad.

“I just have to go away and do a bit more putting and hopefully I’ll be better tomorrow.”

He’s still well poised in a tie for 36th, however.

Golf - Alfred Dunhill Links Championship - Day Four - St Andrews Paul Dunne remains in contention in Spain. Source: PA Wire/PA Images

Damien McGrane carded a similar score to Dunne – but still felt he should have made more use of the chances he engineered.

“I played nicely on Saturday and I played very average today but I holed a few putts,” he said.

“The Tour course was a little bit easier but you still have to hole the putts.

“Today I did that but all of a sudden I struggled and got in with two under par so it’s okay, it’s sets me up,” he offered.

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Donegal’s Ruaidhri McGee was one of the stars of yesterday’s opening round but he endured a dreadful day today and fell out of contention.

The Rosapenna pro started the day tied for ninth on six-under but shot a whopping 15-over to see him drop 150 places to tied 154th overall on nine-over.

He was three-over at the turn but the wheels well and truly came off on 13 and he followed that with a par, consecutive double bogeys and consecutive bogeys for 87.

Elsewhere, 2008 Spanish Open winner Peter Lawrie is tied 116th after rounds of 76 and 69.

His one-under today was marginally better than yesterday’s four-over on the Stadium course but facing into the same test tomorrow he knows he has it all to do.

Headfort’s Brian Casey replicated Lawrie’s score of one-under yesterday and is now plus three overall.

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