Thursday 22 March 2018

Brady lights up West with record 64

The unfinished south Dublin countryside resort that's become an symbol of the boom and bust times in Ireland
The unfinished south Dublin countryside resort that's become an symbol of the boom and bust times in Ireland

Brian Keogh at Rosses Point

Lager companies don't do debuts but if they did, then teenager David Brady's course record 64 in the opening round of the Radisson Blu-sponsored West of Ireland Championship would be right up there with the best in the world.

On Wednesday, the 17-year-old schoolboy from the village of Ballincar just down the road from County Sligo Golf Club had to tee it up in the 18-hole qualifier to try to grab one of nine places in the starting field.

The U-16 Boys international shot a career-best 69 around his home links of Rosses Point to top the qualifiers, only to smash that to smithereens when the gun went yesterday.

But he could hardly have dreamed of a better debut as he had the honour of hitting the first shot in the championship – delayed by two and a half hours by fog – and then reeled off nine birdies without error in his first 15 holes, including five in a row from the 11th

Despite bogeys at the 16th and 17th, he could still walk off the 18th with his father Terry a proud caddie as his seven-under 64 shaved a stroke off the course record set by 2011 champion Paul Cutler.

A fifth-year student at that golfing hotbed that is Sligo Grammar, Brady finished a picture postcard day two strokes clear Naas' Jack Hume and Portmarnock's Geoff Lenehan, two members of the senior international panel and four ahead of Ardee's Eugene Smith and fellow Co Sligo man Steffan O'Hara.

The one-handicapper insisted that he wasn't just there to make up the numbers in an event that hasn't seen a Co Sligo native lift the famous old trophy since Cecil Ewing beat Brud Slattery in the final 64 years ago.

"I'm happy out," beamed Brady. "I'll just concentrate on having another good score tomorrow. Before the start I definitely had ambitions to do well in the tournament. I know I am one of the best in the field, so I will try to go for it."

While not yet a full Boys international, he has plenty of game and no little power and took full advantage of light breezes and bright sunshine. A wedge to two feet set up his opening birdie at the second and he chipped in for another at the fourth.

He didn't birdie the par-five third or fifth holes and was forced to get up and down for par at the sixth before rattling off seven birdies in his next nine holes for nine-under.


After draining an 18-footer at the seventh, he hit a seven-iron to 12 feet at the ninth to turn in 32 and birdied the 11th from two feet, tapped in for another at the par-five 12th, hit an eight-iron to four feet at the par-three 13th and rolled in a 10-footer at the 14th, before holing from 12 yards from just short of the 15th green for birdie number nine.

He missed a seven-footer for par after pulling his tee-shot at the par-three 16th and then happily two-putted the terrifying 17th for bogey.

Hume (20) was pleased to drop just one shot in his 66. "Winning a championship is at the top of my list this year," he said. "I had a few close calls last year."

Lenehan, in a seven-birdie 66, echoed Hume's sentiments.

"I'd like to get to the business end of a championship after missing the play-off by one in the Irish Amateur last year and getting to two semis in the 'North'." he said.

Irish Independent

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