Peter Lawrie fails to regain tour card after missed cut in Portugal

Paul Dunne battled hard to make his third successive professional event cut

Castleknock's Peter Lawrie looks to have missed out on regaining his European Tour card after shooting a second round 72 to miss the cut at the Portugal Masters.

Meanwhile, Mount Juliet's Kevin Phelan will need a good weekend performance to avoid the same fate.

Unless Lawrie receives an unlikely sponsor’s invitation to next week’s Hong Kong Open and wins enough money to move himself into the top 110 places on the Race to Dubai then he will be heading for Q-School in Spain next month.

Phelan, who came through Q-School to earn his card in 2013, made the cut on the mark (one under par) but will need to go low over the weekend to earn enough prize money to move from 126th into the top 10. Even the weather looks to be against the 24-year-old however – heavy rain forecast over the weekend has put into doubt whether there will even be the full 72 holes played. If the tournament was shortened to, say, 54 holes, then the prize money would be reduced.

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Paul Dunne and Padraig Harrington will join Phelan over the weekend with both players sitting 12 shots off the lead on two under par.

It is Dunne’s third and last sponsor’s invite of the season as he looks to add to the €80,000 he’s won already before heading to Spain next month to compete for the 25 tour cards on offer.

Darren Clarke and Michael Hoey both finished a long way off the cut-mark.

Damien McGrane still leads the Irish charge, despite a one over par 73 today. The Meath golfer sits on three under par, 11 shots behind tournament leader Andy Sullivan.

Severe storms with 50mph-plus winds are predicted for late Saturday morning and organisers have taken the rare decision to hold a shotgun start — groups teeing off on all 18 holes from 8am — in an attempt to get day three completed.

Sullivan, who began the day tied with Nicolas Colsaerts on seven under, is currently sitting pretty at the top of the leaderboard after a second successive 64 moved him to 14 under and three shots clear of Belgian Thomas Pieters, who carded a 66 and is also looking for his third win of the season.

However, there is plenty of scope for that to change if the forecast at Oceanico Victoria Golf Club turns out to be accurate.

“Due to the extremely poor weather forecast for the next two days it has been decided that the best chance of completing the third round is to schedule a shotgun start from 8am on Saturday,” said a statement from the European Tour.

“All parties have agreed to this in the best interests of the tournament.”