Eugene Smith (Ardee) lines up a 15ft putt on the last green during his scond round. He holed it for par. Photo: Pat Cashman
26 May 2012
Close: Day One
LIVE BLOG ON SATURDAY FROM 1pm: http://www.gui.ie/home/events-results/championships/irish-amateur-close.aspx
Chris Selfridge from Moyola Park Golf Club leads the way after round one of the Golfsure sponsored Irish Close Championship at Royal Portrush.
The 20 year old, who is on a golfing scholarship at the University of Toledo, carded a six under par opening round of 66 to hold a two shot lead from Rathmore's Alan Dunbar, Andrew Hogan from Newlands in Dublin and the Munster Youths Champion Eugene Smith from Ardee Golf Club in Co. Louth.
Speaking in an accent which you could mistake for Graeme McDowell's, Selfridge was elated after his round. "I've been playing great lately, I changed putter a few days ago. I've been putting badly but apart from that my game's been great".
The secret to his form is a new putter, which he picked up just last weekend following a chat about it with fellow Ulsterman Dermot McElroy.
"I'm playing great, playing really well. I played Senior Cup last week and shot 72 but I've never putted so badly so I changed putter this week."
It’s obviously working well for Selfridge who played a practice round at Portstewart earlier this week carding a 66 also, which included a hole in one.
Selfridge’s opening round at the Close included an eagle at the par five tenth hole where he hit his approach shot to three feet following a drive down the middle. Birdies at the second, ninth, 13th, and the penultimate 17th hole gave him an unblemished round of 66.
Not far off the pace are the trio of Dunbar, Hogan and Smith who all signed for rounds of 68.
Dunbar, who was battling with a dose of flu and low energy levels, clearly was unaffected by his recent ailments.
"I was feeling quite bad on Wednesday, but feeling ten times better yesterday, so I hit a few balls on the range yesterday afternoon and felt ready to go. I've been resting all week just to give myself a chance to play, and I got to play so I'm happy enough to get off to a good start and take it from there."
The Rathmore man enjoys a late start on Saturday and is hoping to be well rested ahead of the second round. “"I didn't really have any expectations. I didn't know if I could even play 18. I felt fine, a bit tired towards the end. I've a late start tomorrow so I'll get well rested again tonight".
Winning the Golfsure sponsored Irish Close can be viewed as a stepping stone to greater things when you consider that all four Irish golfing major winners have lifted the Irish Close title during their amateur careers.
Round two gets underway at Royal Portrush on Saturday morning at 7.30am.
Click here for round one scores
Click here for round two tee times