Tiarnon McLaronon, tied for the lead, in action at Royal Dublin today (Friday)
11 May 2012
Two way tie at Irish Amateur
Tiarnan McLarnon from Massereene and Lisburn based Simon Ward (Co Louth) hold the lead after day one of the Irish Amateur Open at Royal Dublin Golf Club.
McLarnon, the 20 year old golf scholar from the University of Ulster has been in good form this year and his 2 under par round of 70 leaves him clear of the chasing pack.
In a round that contained four birdies (holes 3, 11, 16 and 18), it was the last that stood out as the best, and perhaps most important of his round.
On the final green in regulation, McLarnon faced a tricky 60ft putt across the green for birdie, and when it hit the back of the hole he secured his fourth birdie of the round, putting him on top of the leader board.
He was joined there by Ward, playing out of Co. Louth but living and working in Lisburn, who shot a bogey free back nine of 33, 4 under par to leave him tied with McLarnon heading into day two.
A member of Belvoir Park’s Senior Cup team, Ward the 2006 South of Ireland Champion, now aged 25 played a practice round on Thursday with European Tour professional Shane Lowry.
Just behind the leaders is Ballymena's Dermot McElroy, who left his recent putting woes behind him as he carded an opening round 71 (-1) to lie in a tie for second.
The 18 year old, who took 39 putts in a round at the West of Ireland, carded a "boring" all par opening ten holes, and followed this up with birdies on 11 and 17. His only dropped shot of the day came at the par four 15th.
"I got up and down from just left of the green on 10, holing a nice 5 footer for par. On 11, I hit it into about 15 feet and holed it for birdie. I hit it into 15 feet on the next (12th) and just missed for birdie. I had a great up and down on the 13th, buried in the rough, hacked it to 10 feet and holed the par putt. On 17 I holed a 15-20 foot putt for birdie".
He is joined on one under par by the 20 year old American Mike Miller from Knollwood Country Club in New York. Having never played links golf until a couple of weeks ago, the +4 handicapper handled the conditions well and enjoyed his first competitive action in Ireland.
"It's different over here, it's a lot of fun! The wind was up on the front nine, but the back nine you could score” he beamed after signing for his 71.
Two consecutive birdies were the highlight of his round, coming at holes 9, where he made a 15 foot putt, and 10 where he hit his approach to just a few feet from the pin.
Athlone's Kelan McDonagh held the clubhouse lead for a period, after carding a steady level par round of 72. A strong finish in windy conditions included a birdie on the par four 17th to bring him back to level par and just one behind.
McDonagh's score is all the more impressive when you consider that his girlfriend Claire is in hospital following a recent bone marrow transplant. Hitting bad shots on the golf course is put into perspective for the 2009 Irish Youths Champion who has moved to Co Kildare to be closer to the hospital where she is recovering.
West of Ireland Champion Harry Diamond (Belvoir Park) is lurking just two behind the leaders on 73 alongside Conor Doran (Banbridge) while Reeve Whitson (Mourne) is three behind after an opening 74.
Walker Cup star Alan Dunbar shot a round of 75 which included a triple bogey seven on the last, after the Rathmore star found water twice to the right of the 18th.
It wasn't a day to remember for Colin Fairweather (Knock), who took five putts on the par three fourth green, four of which were inside three feet, nor was it a day for it Italian Alessandro Bogoni who shot a 20 over par, 92 – but kept plugging away to the end, fist pumping his par putt from 15 feet on the last.
DAY ONE SCORES: http://www.gui.ie/home/events-results/results/irish-amateur-open.aspx