Stunning course is real winner as Rory flops
Published 30/05/2015 | 02:30
As the world's best golfers struggled, it was down to the crowds and course to take centre stage and boy did they deliver.
Some 20,000 eager fans lined the hills of the Royal County Down in Newcastle for the second day of the Irish Open.
And the masses didn't let the hail or rain dampen their spirits as they egged on local lad and host Rory McIlroy in his windswept home county.
But despite having a world of support behind him the world number one couldn't claw himself back from his disastrous first day and crashed out of the completion for the third consecutive year.
Hopes of an Irish win are still alive though with Dubliner Padraig Harrington one shot off the lead.
Among the fans was Eoghan Fitzpatrick (16) from south Dublin who said he will also be roaring for his fellow county man as the competition progresses.
"He has been playing great golf and deserves the win after the year he has had," explained Eoghan.
Images of the breath-taking Mourne Mountains running down to the sea will be beamed into 450 million homes this weekend.
And it seems the setting has had a profound effect on some travellers from south of the border who said they didn't realise such outstanding natural beauty was only a car trip away.
"I've never really been across the border", said Carlow man Mike Ross, "but I will definitely be coming back. It is just stunning up here."
Locals also said that the event, which is set to bring a £10m cash injection to the locality, will undoubtedly spark future interest in their area.
Max and Rebecca McConnell said despite the "crazy weather" Newcastle is a fantastic place.