Battling Casey leads Irish Brabazon charge as McElroy falls off the pace
Brian Casey became the chief Irish challenger in the English Open stroke play championship for the Brabazon Trophy at Formby on the Lancashire coast when he posted a second-round 76.
That gave the Headfort player a 36-hole total of 147 – three-over-par – and put him in joint fifth place at the halfway stage, albeit seven strokes adrift of leader Jordan Smith, the Wiltshire golfer who returned the lowest score of the tournament yesterday a 69.
Ballymena prospect Dermot McElroy – who had, alongside Casey, been just a stroke off the pace after round one – fell back, taking a 78 yesterday, including a double bogey and seven bogeys.
McElroy is on 149 but still in the top 20, comfortably making the halfway cut.
Portmarnock's Geoff Lenehan produced an excellent performance yesterday, carding a superb 74 which included two birdies in the last three holes for a 150 total and a share of 28th place.
West Waterford's Gary Hurley on 151 and Chris Selfridge on Moyola Park on 152 are still there, but Ireland's big pre-tournament hope Rory McNamara has fallen by the wayside after rounds of 78 and 77.
Lucan's former East of Ireland champion, Richard O'Donovan, went to pieces yesterday, slumping to a 12-over-par 84 including a disastrous triple-bogey eight on the 17th and five bogeys on the inward half.
That followed a highly respectable 73 on Wednesday and sent him crashing out of the championship.
Smith goes into the third round this morning four strokes clear of Freddie Sheridan-Mills from Walsall.