Another day of high drama at the Aphrodite Hills Cyprus Showdown ended with 19 players progressing to the final-day shoot-out in Cyprus, where Johannes Veerman and Matthew Jordan signed for the lowest rounds of the day while Gavin Green was among those players to produce an eleventh-hour salvo to make it through to Sunday.
The tee was moved forward on the par five 18th hole for round three in Paphos, making for numerous nail-biting moments as players chased the third round cut in the unique format – with the scores reset after the opening two rounds and again after the third.
American Veerman and Englishman Jordan will enter the crucial finale brimming with confidence after the duo signed for seven under rounds of 64, Veerman’s flawless round finishing with an eagle three and Jordan’s score coming despite a bogey six on the third hole.
Green produced a moment of magic down the last to ensure his pathway was secured – the Malaysian’s drive found the left rough but a stunning approach left him with a simple two-putt to make the cut on the line, having birdied four of the final three holes.
Englishman Steven Brown and Jorge Campillo also made it through thanks to dramatic last-ditch efforts, Brown birdieing the final two holes to make it by one while Campillo had a long wait before making it on the cut-line – after the Spaniard lipped out for eagle at the last before tapping in for a crucial birdie.
As the low scorers on the third day, Veerman and Jordan will tee off in the first group of Sunday’s final round alongside Germany’s Bernd Ritthammer at 09:50.
Johannes Veerman: “I played really well today. Again, bogey free. Not that many bad shots, I made a lot of putts and my short game was consistent. I played really solidly.
“I was steaming (at –4 through six). I got off to a really good start, birdied both the par fives on the front. Once you start off like that you, you don’t coast but you can almost put it in autopilot. All the boxes are checked, you’re putting it well, you’re hitting it well – just keep it rolling.
“This format is great. You can make it to the final day, which is what our goal was, then you have a chance to win. That was the first step, making it to the top 32 – which we did – then the next one was making the top 16 – which we did. Now it’s just a race to the finish, it’s exciting.”
Matthew Jordan: “It was a lot more stress-free. It was weird, the last two holes it was quite nice, you can enjoy it a bit. I certainly prefer to do it that way that yesterday.
“I’m just happy to be through. No one will have been on the greens and there’s only around 20 guys so there’s hardly going to be much traffic on them, so I just want to shoot a score and it doesn’t bother me where I finished at the end of today or when I go out tomorrow.
“You just have to try get off to a good start tomorrow. I think if you’re struggling through nine you’re going to make it tough for yourself, so I’m going to concentrate on trying to start well. If it doesn’t happen it doesn’t happen, but I think just try start well and see where it goes.”
Gavin Green: “It feels amazing. The front nine I just couldn’t get anything going. Then the back nine, I birdied ten, drove the green on 14 and finally got something going. Then I birdied the next, then unfortunately I had a terrible three-putt on 16. Had a great shot on 17, and another great shot on 18 but I had to do it, it was do or die pretty much. I just went at it.
“I was just thinking birdie-eagle finish. When I pulled the driver on 18 I was thinking, ‘oh man’, just hoping for a lie and that I could get something on the green and try make a putt. I walked down 18 and saw the leaderboard at three under and thought there’s a chance so make a birdie to have some sort of chance.
“When we saw it yesterday about the tee times, my caddie and I were thinking it’s not such a bad thing because it’s either you go for everything or plot your way around so being last off, you kind of have a sense of where you’re at and what you have to do.
“When I was standing on 14 I was ever par still so I thought, there is no choice, you’ve got to go for it. So I hit a perfect cut driver to ten feet. So I think it’s a little bit of an advantage, but at the same time I think it works both ways.”
Steven Brown: “Everything changed for my round from that eagle on. I had been playing pretty well actually, solid up to that point. But I think I used up most of my putts yesterday so I didn’t hole much. They moved the tee up on 14 today which helped me because I can reach the green, I think it was a bout 300 to the hole so I hit my driver really well and got a bit lucky. It pitched at the front of the green and it went 20 feet past and I holed the putt. So that got me going.
“I think normally on a Saturday you know that even if you have a slowish day, just to keep going because you’ve always got Sunday to make a charge as well. Whereas today it’s very cut-throat, you’re either in or you’re not. There’s nothing in between, you’re either still in it or you’re gone.
“It’s slightly different and I just tried to stay patient really, because I was playing pretty well and knew there were chances coming in like 18 – I think 18 is going to be key for who makes it and who doesn’t because you can easily make a three down there.”
Jorge Campillo: “The golf course is playing quite easy without wind, but you still have to make the putts – hopefully I’m lucky enough. I got unlucky with the last putt, I hit a good one and it didn’t go in – but I did all I could do.
“I was hitting it past the hole all day long. I saw Jamie hit a six iron, so I thought a seven iron would be good for me. As soon as I hit it I thought it was good, it barely missed the water, but I knew I had to go for it.
“It would be nice if I can play tomorrow. It was a good round yesterday, I wished it counted more than it did. But a course record is always nice – hopefully I can play tomorrow and shoot another low one.”