But suddenly his luck changed as he chipped in for an unexpected two, holed from 30 feet for a par at the next and holed from off the green for another birdie two at the 144-yard 12th. Two excellent closing pars eventually took his tally to 36 stableford points and the narrowest of wins over 19-handicapper Eugene O’Sullivan from St Neots and Nic James (8) from The Gower Golf Club, Swansea.
Set in rolling parkland on the edge of Bristol with elevated tees and slick greens it was in superb condition having hosted an exhibition match between Irish Ryder Cup star Paul McGinley and local hero Mark Sanders two days earlier.
For those visiting the West Country and looking for a likely venue for a day out – Knowle comes highly recommended.
The distinctive sounds of r7 Quad and r5 Dual drivers and the latest fairway metals had the squirrels and other prolific wildlife running for cover.
As well as the main competition, there were also prizes for nearest the pin and longest prize. The accuracy prize on the downhill sixth went to 14-handicap Terry Allen from Mentmore, while eight-handicap Tim Caudrelier, who plays at The Gower and Woodbury Park took the distance award.
It might have been more had he been able to build on the outward 19 points and the 70-foot putt he holed for par at the 486-yard 13th.
But it still leaves the door open for the chasing pack, led by Shaun Hearmon, to claim the overall title with still four rounds remaining.
The winner (best two rounds to count) will win a TaylorMade driver, custom-fitted on the TaylorMade MATT system at The De Vere Belfry and a round on The Brabazon course.
(best two scores after three qualifying rounds in brackets): 36 Alan Taylor (50); 35 Eugene O’Sullivan (75), Nic James; 34 Nick Harrington (50); 32 Bob Warters; 27 Paul O’Mahony, Terry Allen, John Downey; 26 Steve Bendall (50), Angelo Esposito (42), Richard Denning; 25 Tim Caudrelier, Jim King; 23 David Kennedy-Moffat.
(After three rounds - best two scores to count):
75 Eugene O’Sullivan (h’cap 19, St Neots) 26, 40, 35
63 Shaun Hearmon (13, West Middlesex) 37, 26
62 Alan Taylor (14, The Vale) 26,36
60 Chris Biggs (10, Cosby) 29, 31
52 Gerry Dempsey (8, West Middlesex) 23, 29
50 Steve Bendall (10, Downshire) 24,26; 50 Nick Harrington (14) 16, 34
48 Tim Lenihan (14, Bicester) 22, 26