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First Challenge Tour Top-10 for Niall Kearney

Niall Kearney clinched the first Top 10 finish of his Challenge Tour career with a share of ninth in the Slovakia Challenge

The 27-year old former Walker Cup player, who picked up just over €3,000 in only his third Challenge Tour start of the year to move to 130th in the Road to Oman rankings, closed with a  two under 70 to finish on 10 under par in his 55th event on the second tier circuit since 2010.

The reigning Irish Professional champion finished seven shots behind Spain’s Borja Virto Astudillo, who earned his maiden Challenge Tour title in truly dramatic fashion by chipping in for birdie on the 72nd hole for a 66 and a one-shot win over playing partner Ricardo Gouveia of Portugal.

Tied for sixth overnight, Kearney slipped down the leaderboard in the end but it was still a good week as he birdied the second and then made three in a row from the fourth to get to 12 under par.

A double bogey five at the short eighth and a bogey at the 13th proved costly but he made a birdie five at the par-six 15th and parred his way in to share ninth spot.

Derry’s Michael McGeady was tied 14th, following a four-birdie 69 and is now 125th in the Road to Oman rankings after six events.

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