Friday 28 April 2017

Cutler suffers late slump as Irish struggle

AN inexplicable late collapse by experienced international Paul Cutler cost Ireland dearly in the opening round of the World Amateur Team Golf Championship in Buenos Aires last night.

Cutler, the 22-year-old Great Britain and Ireland cap from Portstewart, matched or bettered par most of the way but suffered a disastrous closing stretch.

Starting at the 10th on the more difficult Olivos course, Lytham Trophy holder Cutler – a quarter-finalist in the Amateur Championship in June – birdied his third hole and got to the turn in 36 (oneover- par) after back-to-back bogeys on 15 and 16.

A birdie on the first – his 10th – brought him back to par and following four pars he dropped a stroke at the next to go one over.

The real problem came at the eighth (17th) when he found the tight fairways difficult to handle and slumped to a double-bogey seven, ending with a par for 74.

Waterford-product Kevin Phelan, a student at the University of North Florida, appeared to be making a reasonable Eisenhower Trophy debut until he had two late bogeys after an earlier double and finished on 76.

Irish champion Alan Dunbar was never going very well after dropping strokes on three of the first four holes and he also posted a 76.

That gave Ireland a first-day aggregate of 150 – with two of the three cards counting – and they were in a tie for 45th place.

The Irish were a long way behind early leaders Canada, who also played the Olivos course and recorded a fiveunder- par total of 137 . France joined Canada on the 137 mark but they played on day one at Buenos Aires with its par of 71 so were seven-under.

Today, the Irish trio move across to the Buenos Aires course and their first thoughts will be on climbing the leaderboard and gearing themselves up to beat the finish of two years ago when they were joint 25th.

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