Bad weather can give Irish contingent edge at KLM
IT'S the Dutch Open in all but name, but the rain-doused links at Kennemer were awash with Irish yarns and sub-plots in the run-up to today's KLM first round.
At one end of the scale, Padraig Harrington continues his search for his Holy Grail, that heady winning blend of form, focus and confidence which has eluded him for more than five years.
At the other, Walker Cup star Kevin Phelan this morning makes his professional debut buoyed by an accomplished performance last weekend on Long Island.
Phelan (22) and talented Dublin teenager Gavin Moynihan both sparkled amid the 17-9 rout of their GB&I team by the USA at the National Golf Links of America.
The clubs of Waterford Castle favourite Phelan went astray at Heathrow en route from New York to Amsterdam.
Thankfully, they turned up in a matter of hours and, after practice was washed out on Tuesday, Phelan was able to play Kennemer with seasoned tour-pro Gareth Maybin and crack German amateur Dominic Foos.
Among the first to offer Phelan a warm welcome to the pro ranks was Shane Lowry ... their paths have crossed at Carton House, where the Clara man and the GUI National Panel both 'reside'.
Lowry can be fancied this weekend if the weather in Zandvoort is as bad as predicted, while Darren Clarke knows his way around Kennemer, where he won the KLM Open in 2008.
Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley should enjoy this week, given his love of Harry Colt courses and the fact Kennemer resembles a cross between Colt's masterpiece at Royal Portrush and the 'New Course' he designed at Sunningdale, the Dubliner's local in London.
Harrington, who played with former Manchester United 'keeper Edwin van der Sar in yesterday's pro-am, is picking up positive vibes at Kennemer, where he says several holes remind him of Portrush, his favourite links.
The tougher the weather gets on Saturday and Sunday, the better it should be for Lowry, Clarke, Waterville's David Higgins and, most of all perhaps, Harrington.