Lawrie on course to retain card in Perth
Kerry’s David Higgins needs low round to save trip back to Tour School
Michael Hoey of Northern Ireland lines up a putt on the 16th hole during day three of the Perth International at Lake Karrinyup Country Club. Photograph: Matt King/Getty Images
A level-par third round of 72 by Peter Lawrie kept him on track to retain his card at the Perth International in Australia, but David Higgins will need to go low in the final round to save himself a return to Tour School.
Although he finished with two bogeys, Dubliner Lawrie is in a tie for 25th position on one under at Lake Karrinyup. That is worth just under €14,000 if he was to finish in a similar position and would move him up from 114th position back into the top 110 that gain their cards for next season.
Higgins started the week in 115th position, just over €6,000 behind Lawrie, but he could only manage a two-over 74 in his third round that leaves him back in a share of 58th spot on three over.
The Kerryman’s best round of the week was his level-par 72 on Friday, but he will need at least a 68 in his final round to rise up the leaderboard and claim a decent cheque.
Michael Hoey has no such worries this week and the Ulsterman goes into the final round on five under after a second straight 69 and is just three shots off the lead of Australian Brody Ninyette.
On a rainy day in Western Australia, Ninyette, making just his second appearance on the European Tour, signed for a five-under-par 67 to lead JB Hansen, Brett Rumford and Jin Jeong with 18 holes to play.
Rumford, who like Ninyette hails from Perth, perhaps stole some of the limelight from his compatriot by carding a course-record 65.
Ninyette’s round would have been better too but for bogeys on the eighth and 11th holes, but in such tricky conditions few criticisms could be levelled.
On a blanket-covered leaderboard, five more players are in close attendance on six under, with English duo Richard Finch and Ross Fisher alongside Jason Scrivener, James Nitties and Fredrik Hed Andersson.
Finch needs a top-three finish to keep his Tour card, with Andersson needing to be in the top five.
Fisher will feel as though he missed out, going one under for the day, allowing himself to be eaten up by the chasing pack, although overnight leader Peter Hedblom is sure to feel more irked.
The Swede is battling to save his Tour card too and will have slept easily at the head of the queue on Friday, but a three-over 75 means he dropped to four under and into trouble, with his round saved from further trouble by birdies on the 14th and 17th.
Victory would mean a switch to the main European Tour for Ninyette and he is keen to make the most of his good position.
“It would be amazing. It would be a whole new experience, getting out there and playing over there would be unreal to see how the world’s best do it. I’ve only played these sort of tournaments in Australia,” he told the European Tour website.
“I’ve been playing well the last few days. ”It was good to hole a few putts and get myself into contention.
“It’s obviously a very new experience, so try and get some sleep and see how we go tomorrow.”