Sport Golf

Saturday 16 December 2017

Bad day at office for Irish quartet in Open qualifying

Brian Creighton

The Irish quartet looking to qualify for next month's British Open at Sandwich faltered badly at Sunningdale yesterday.

Paul McGinley was the only one of the four to give it a good run. However, in the end, the Dubliner dropped three shots on the back nine of his second round to join Shane Lowry, Michael Hoey and Gareth Maybin on the way home after a disappointing day, none of them even close to succeeding.

They were, however, in good company, for Colin Montgomerie also failed to make the grade. The Scot needed something akin to his second-round 62 a year ago to get into the Open for the 22nd successive time, but on Suningdale's Old Course, he could only manage 74 to finish six- over for the day.

Monty is facing the serious prospect of never playing another Major.

A week after missing out by five shots in US Open qualifying -- three days after posting his worst 36-hole total in Europe for 20 years at the Wales Open -- Montgomerie came nowhere near yesterday.

The man who has had five runners-up finishes in Majors -- a record for someone who has never won one -- said: "It's disappointing, so I'll go to Italy and try again."

McGinley, who lives in Sunningdale, found out only on Sunday morning that he had a place in the event because Peter Lawrie pulled out after his wife gave birth to a son on Friday.

He was one-under after a 68 on the New Course and he got to four-under after nine on the Old.

"Then I drove it under the lip of a bunker at 10 and it cost me a shot. I drove it into the heather at 12 and it cost me two shots," he said ruefully.

Lowry, who successfully qualified for the US Open a week ago, was three-under after three holes in the morning after play was delayed for 90 minutes because heavy overnight rain had flooded the bunkers, but fell back to a two-over 71.

"The game's good. I just had a few silly dropped shots this morning, so I had to go chasing it this afternoon and started double-double," he explained. He shot 70.

A fatigued Hoey shot a promising 69 in his opening round, but was forced to retire in the second. His efforts were not helped by a bad night in his hotel room.

"I woke up at 3.30 and my bed was soaking. There was a leak from the ceiling. I was shivering. I had to move rooms. I did get back to sleep, but I was just knackered."

Maybin, who got married a week ago, shot 72 on the Old course then withdrew citing a recurring leg injury.

The four Irishmen will, however, have another chance of making Sandwich from the upcoming mini Order of Merit or via the French and Scottish Opens. There is one place avalaible from each of these.

They will be looking to join Graeme McDowell, Rory McIlroy, Padraig Harrington and Darren Clarke at St George's.

Irish Independent

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