Tuesday 12 December 2017

Confident Lyons hoping to bring his red-hot form into the West

Mark Wehrly

Galway's Joe Lyons will be hoping that he is showing his form at just the right time ahead of the Radisson-Blu West of Ireland Championship, which begins this morning in Rosses Point.

After finishing third last weekend at the Lee Valley Scratch Cup, which saw a very strong field including the entire international panel, Lyons continued to exude the good vibes yesterday in practice at County Sligo GC, holing out his second shot at the par-four seventh, the most difficult hole on the course for members.

"I holed my second at the seventh this morning," he said with a grin afterwards. "I'm striking the ball very well, but we'll see. You never know until you get out there.

"I'm not unfamiliar with the bad weather. The year I won it there was no real wind, but I've played Rosses Point enough times at this stage to know what to expect.

"I finished third last week, and I really could have won it. I sort of went to sleep on the back nine and dropped a few shots, let it slip. But there was a good field last week -- the international panel was there -- so finishing third was good."


Paddy Power is predicting this year's championship will be dominated by youngsters -- Paul Cutler (Portstewart) starts as favourite, just ahead of Paul Dunne (Greystones), Darragh Lernihan (Castle) and Alan Dunbar (Rathmore).

But the more seasoned players like Lyons and Rory Leonard -- who won at Lee Valley last week -- will be hoping to capitalise on their experience if the wind continues to blow to the extent it has been throughout the week in the northwest.

"It helps that the younger guys mightn't have played in such bad weather," Leonard said. "Those of us who've played here over the years would be well used to the rough stuff.

"But it doesn't appear to be too bad at the moment -- I was very surprised; I drove here from up north and there's quite a bit of snow so I didn't know what to expect. But it's lovely here at the moment thankfully -- you wouldn't mind the wind too much."

English panellist Jack Senior heads the international challenge along with his compatriot Jonathan Hurst, who is playing in his fourth West of Ireland having reached the last eight in 2007 and 2008, and the last four last year.

draw in factfile

Irish Independent

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