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Big finish keeps Armitage in the hunt in Cyprus

Big finish keeps Armitage in the hunt in Cyprus

Marcus Armitage made two birdies to battle his way into the Saturday shootout at the Aphrodite Hills Cyprus Showdown on a dramatic morning in Paphos.

Marcus Armitage

After a lightning delay had caused the second round to run into Saturday, 23 of the 105 man field returned to the course at 7.00am to try to keep their place - or make their way - into the top 32 and ties that would contest round three with the scores reset.

There were 33 players set to advance after 36 holes when the day began but that fell to 32, with Armitage the man making his way through and Adrian Meronk and Kalle Samooja the unlucky duo to miss out.

Englishman Armitage had five holes to complete and he made a quickfire birdie on the 14th before making another gain on the par five last to ensure he lived to fight another day.

"I was thinking ‘if I miss this I go see the dogs, or if I hole it, I play a little more golf and then see them’," he said.

"The pressure there; it felt like we were coming down the stretch in contention if I’m honest. Knowing if you get through this then you’re basically tied for the lead, it’s anyone’s game.

"It’s anyone’s game today and then it’s scrapped again and it’s anyone’s game tomorrow. Big pressure coming down there, but I’m glad I’m through and I’ll see what happens.

The pressure there; it felt like we were coming down the stretch in contention if I’m honest

"You really want to save the low one for tomorrow. If I can scrape through today and then save it all for tomorrow that would be ideal."

After losing in a play-off last week, there was more heartbreak for Samooja as the Finn bogeyed the last to fall to five under, while Pole Meronk had four bogeys and a birdie in seven holes on a disappointing morning.

Frenchman Joël Stalter had a hole-in-one on Friday, and he admitted returning to complete his final three holes and make round three on the bubble was a strange experience.

"It was probably the longest round of my life," he said. "When you make a hole-in-one you get a bit excited and pumped, then I played really good, but we were stopped with the rain.

"It’s always difficult to come back and play because it breaks your rhythm, but I managed to do really well but then we finished in the dark.

"It’s even more stressful with this format and the cut line, you know all you need to do is make the cut - it doesn’t matter what you shoot. It was very difficult to manage, but I’m really happy I did it.

Jamie Donaldson

"Even this morning, I was more nervous than I’ve been in a very long time. It gets in your head."

At the other end of the leaderboard, Welshman Jamie Donaldson birdied the 18th in his final three holes to sign for a 64 and win a 5,000 euro bonus from tournament sponsor Megabet+ for finishing as the lowest scorer after 36 holes on 12 under.

"I knew there was something for the 36 hole leader, so it was nice to finish with a four, especially after the tee shot," he said.

"I’m happy with the way it finished even though I felt really tired getting up this morning.

"I just need to get that putter warmed up. It’s funny, because when you say your putter isn’t warm at seven under it’s quite a good thing."

Donaldson finished a shot ahead of Spaniard Jorge Campillo, who finished birdie-birdie in the morning to sign for a course record 62.

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