Swing doctor Manchip finds timely tonic to share lead with Mooney
It was a case of 'physician, heal thyself' for Neil Manchip at Seapoint yesterday as he recovered with two birdies in the final four holes of his second-round 72 to share the lead with Damien Mooney on five-under at the Ladbrokes Irish Professional Championship.
Manchip (37), the GUI National Director of Coaching and Shane Lowry's swing doctor, struggled on his opening 10 holes ... then diagnosed the problem and came up with a cure.
The crunch came after Seapoint's par-four first hole (his 10th), where the Scot was particularly annoyed to waste "the perfect drive" by hitting "a terrible seven-iron" into rough left of the green as he carded his second bogey of the day.
"My iron play was very poor early on and I struggled to find rhythm," Manchip explained. "Then I nearly hit it in the hazard at the second (a par three). I was just playing too many pokey shots, so I decided to swing easier, make less effort, and it went well from there."
The two leaders enter the weekend one ahead of David Mortimer (35), winner of this championship at Druid's Heath in 2006, which, incidentally, was the last time Manchip, busy with his coaching commitments, played a four-round tournament.
Mortimer clearly is playing solid golf after posting two rounds of 70 in vastly different conditions as Thursday's rain was replaced by a brisk northerly breeze.
Anger was the best medicine for Damien McGrane as a 70 lifted him into a tie for fourth with Warrenpoint native Barrie Trainor (29) on three-under.
After playing a wonderful chip out of the right rough to little more than three feet at nine, the Kells man missed the par putt ... then took out his temper on the ball at the next, with spectacular results.
"I was furious. At 10, I just blasted a driver into oblivion; then a five-wood from 275 yards to 10 feet and holed it for eagle," said McGrane, hoping to challenge this weekend for a title he covets.
"I played far better today and there's plenty of chances out there," he added. "I'm not picking them all up, but I think there's a low number in me somewhere."
Kilkenny's Jimmy Bolger, a 23-year contemporary of Belfast boomer Mooney in pro golf, pressed McGrane hard for 'Shot of the Day' with his 225-yards three-iron into five feet for eagle three at the sixth.
Bolger's 70 lifted him into a tie for sixth on two-under with Irish Order of Merit leader David Higgins and Lowry, who'll pull out all the stops to overhaul his coach at the weekend.
Des Smyth said the course he designed played "a lot longer and tougher" yesterday. He shot 75 and, at level par, was still prominent in the top-10.