Geraghty wields red-hot putter for share of 'South' lead
Laytown and Bettystown's Cian Geraghty produced one of the great comebacks of the season to grab a share the first round lead in strokeplay qualifying for the South of Ireland Amateur Open at Lahinch.
As scores rocketed into the 80s and even the 90s at the storied Co Clare links, the 22-year-old wielded his putter like a wand and came back from four-over after just three holes to card a two-under 70 worth a share of top spot with New Forest's Dessie Morgan.
On a day when 50-year-old veteran Eddie Power shot a 72 and his 16-year-old son Kevin posted a three-over 75 to sit comfortably inside the top 64 who will progress to tomorrow morning's first round of match-play, Geraghty needed all his putting magic to conquer a 20mph southwest wind, slick greens and some challenging pin positions.
Four-over after a bogey at the par-five second and a triple-bogey seven off a poor drive at the third, Geraghty was out in two-over 38 after following a birdie four at the Klondyke (4th) and a bogey four at the 5th with birdies from 35 feet at the eighth and a foot at the ninth.
He then caught fire on the way home and after a fine four at the 10th, he saved par from 20 feet at the 11th, got up and down from a fairway bunker from 40 yards for birdie at the 12th and then holed birdie putts from 20 feet at the 14th, 25 feet at the 17th and a 10 feet at the 18th.
"I had a 67 in the 'West' this year after a bad first round but considering I was four-over after the triple bogey at the third, I was very happy with the way I came back today," said Geraghty. "I really got the putter going."
Morgan (34) dropped just one shot at the 16th, where he was bunkered, as he posted a 70 in his first appearance in the 'South' since 2008.
They lead by one stoke from Stackstown's Shaun Carter, Carton House's Keith Egan and Newcastle West's Andrew McCormack but while most of the fancied contenders avoided disaster, there were some struggles.
American Ben Corfee birdied four of the first five holes but a quadruple bogey eight at the sixth crushed his dreams of a great score and he came home in 42 for a 78 that left him alongside Rowan Lester with international Richard Bridges a shot further back after a 79.
Meanwhile, world No 10 Sergio Garcia and Lee Westwood are among the field for the Omega European Masters, which starts today in the Swiss Alps.
Peter Lawrie, Michael Hoey and Damien McGrane fly the flag for Ireland.
Omega European Masters, Live, Sky Sports 4, 10.0/2.30
Senior Open Championship, Live, Sky Sports 4, 12.0/5.0
RBC Canadian Open, Live, Sky Sports 4, 8.0