Tuesday 24 October 2017

Daly hits front without hitting a shot

William S Callahan

JOHN DALY swept back to the top of the leader board without striking a shot as 35mph winds blew golfers off the course at the Qatar Masters yesterday.

Daly (45) was just 36 holes away from his first victory in eight years following a decision to reduce the event to 54 holes.

Weather forecasters predict the sandstorms and howling gales, which blighted the first two days, should ease by the time Daly and the other players in the lucky half of the draw commence their second rounds.

First round leader Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano was among those who endured the wildest conditions yesterday. He dropped two shots in the seven holes he completed before play was called off as balls were being blown off Doha's exposed greens.

The Spaniard shared second on four-under with Aussie Jason Day, impressively still bogey-free after 24 holes, and Korea's KJ Choi, who, like Daly, had yet to start his second round.

Currently 543rd in the world, two-times Major-winner Daly hasn't won anywhere since his 2004 victory in the Buick Invitational at Torrey Pines.

The hugely-gifted, but wildly unpredictable American has won just once on the European Tour, beating Padraig Harrington by one at the 2001 BMW International Open.

A win this weekend would be timely, given Daly's recent decision to commit full-time to the European circuit in 2012. He currently needs sponsor's invites to play. Yet following-up Thursday's impressive 67 with two more rounds of similar quality will be no mean feat for a player who has had just one top-10 finish, missed 22 cuts and withdrawn from seven tournaments in the past two years.

After a calamitous first round 78, Damien McGrane surged back inside the projected cut mark on one-over by shooting five birdies during a faultless 31 strokes on the back nine before the weather intervened.

Qatar Masters,

Live, Sky Sports 3, 7.0am

hot levin blazing a trail in phoenix

A HOLE-OUT from a greenside bunker for an eagle at the par-four 17th was the highlight of Spencer Levin's round as he threatened to turn the Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale into a procession yesterday.

The Sacremento, California man ended the day on 14-under-par for the tournament, six shots clear of his nearest clubhouse rival John Huh.

Levin recorded six birdies to go along with that eagle for a second-round 63.

The 27-year-old had birdies at the first, second and fifth holes, turning in 32 before adding further birdies at 12, 13 and 16 -- capping it off with the spectacular eagle at the driveable 17th.

Levin drove into the greenside bunker before duly holing his second to cap a tremendous round.

A host of players sit on six-under-par heading into the weekend's play, among them the colourful Bubba Watson and the pedantic Ben Crane.

Phoenix Open,

Live, Sky Sports 3, 9.0

Turner finds form

with myanmar 68

Cork's Niall Turner was in a share for 16th place on seven-under-par, behind leader Scott Hend, after a second round 68 at the Asian Tour's Myanmar Open.

Codd makes the cut

in aussies masters

Rebecca Codd comfortably made the cut at the Australian Ladies Masters.

A second round 68 at the Royal Pines Resort in Queensland left here tied 33rd on four-under, seven behind So Yeon Ryu of Korea, who shot a sensational 61 yesterday.

weather foils irish

pair's challenge

GARY Hurley and Reeve Whitson had to settle for a share of fourth place at the NSW Amateur Championship as the last two rounds were washed out yesterday.

Heavy rain forced organisers to scrap the final 36 holes at Mona Vale, where a play-off was needed to crown winner Neil Raymond, who was top of the leaderboard with Brett Drewitt after round two.

The Irish duo, along with fellow countryman Niall Gorey, had been well-placed after Thursday's second round and would have been confident of staking a claim for first prize had play gone ahead.

Hurley, Whitson and Gorey, who tied for eighth, have all qualified for the match play championship at Elanora Country Club starting on Monday.

However, the bad weather meant Ballymena's Dermot McElroy couldn't force his way into the top 32 for this event, in which Hurley and Gorey face Aussies Matt Wittenberg and Samuel Costa, while Whitson meets England's Ashley Chesters.

Englishman Raymond, who won yesterday on the first play-off hole against Drewitt, goes head-to-head with 2011 Australian Amateur champion Matt Stieger in the first round.

Irish Independent

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport