Friday 23 February 2018

Darcy goes through pain barrier to make the cut

Brian Creighton

Eamonn Darcy has a painful shoulder and describes himself as "a man just chipping it around," as he defied logic to make the halfway cut in the Senior British Open.

A level-par 72 at Walton Heath propelled Darcy -- two weeks short of his 59th birthday -- into the weekend in only his second tournament of the year, despite tearing the rotator cuff in his left shoulder some months ago. It has been slower to heal than he hoped and he takes painkillers to cope.

He finished right on the expected cut mark of four-over 148 -- which meant he had succeeded where more vaunted Irishman Des Smyth failed, his 74, after another day of bad driving, leaving him one outside the mark.

Corkman Denis O'Sullivan did better than both, shooting a two-over 74, despite four three-putts, to finish safely on three-over 147. The joint-leaders were Americans Mark Calcavecchia, after a 69 and Lee Rinker following a 67.

Mark McNulty, the Zimbabwean who holds an Irish passport, finished poorly to record a 76 to lie seven off the pace, one more than Tom Watson who carded a 68 to add to his opening 75.

Darcy, a veteran of four Ryder Cups, birdied the fourth and 11th holes and bogeyed the fifth and seventh on the 7,394-yard heathland layout, before remarking it was "not bad for a man that's just chipping it around."

Darcy said that, with his shoulder again hurting as it did on Thursday, he was unable to swing as freely as he'd like on the long holes over the back nine. "My shoulder was about the same as yesterday. The only thing was it wasn't raining today, the rest of the body didn't stiffen up as much," he said.

"I find this course very long and I'm really not able to hit out at my shots. It's a big course and you have to be in the prime of your health to play it."

For the second day, Smyth started badly with bogeys at the first and third holes leaving him too much to make up after his first round 75. "I have no confidence with the driver," he said. "It was a disappointing couple of rounds because, if I had driven the ball better I feel I could have done quite well. Instead, I was forced into a rearguard, defensive game. I was defending the whole way."

O'Sullivan bemoaned his three-putts, after having six of them over the two rounds. "They were silly shots. because I hit it really good tee to green," he said.

Meanwhile, Damien McGrane is Ireland's only survivor at the Nordea Masters, a second-round 70 sending him into the weekend at Stockholm's Bro Hoff Slott Golf Club on two-under, nine off the pace set by Swedish hotshot Alexander Noren who shot a faultless 66.


Though Michael Hoey missed the cut by six shots, the Belfastman deserves credit for rebounding from Thursday's calamitous 83 with a second-round 68, which should get him back on track for next week's Irish Open in Killarney.

Noren began the day in a share of first place with amateur Robert Karlsson and South African Jaco van Zyl. While his fellow co-leaders could not improve on their opening 67s, Noren improved his. He began in ominous form with birdies at the first two holes and, with three more coming between the sixth and ninth, he reached the turn in 31.

After such an impressive front-nine, the fireworks abated coming home and after picking up another stroke at the 175-yard 11th he parred his way home to finish with a blemish-free round of 66. That put him 11-under and his main challenger three shots back was India's Shiv Kapur who, starting on the back nine, carded eight birdies and two bogeys, to match Noren's earlier 66.

Meanwhile, Gary Murphy moved to three-under, six off the lead of Scotsman Jamie Moul at the The English Challenge, with a fine second round 67 at The Stoke-by-Nayland Hotel and Spa.

Colm Moriarty squeezed through the cut on two-under after his 71, but a sextuple-bogey 10 at the 17th hole of his second round 75 caused Tim Rice to miss out by six.

Niall Kearney (70, level), Gareth Shaw (74, +2), Simon Thornton (74, +2), Jonathan Caldwell (73, +7) and Steven Hackett (77, +12) also have the weekend off.

Elsewhere, Chad Campbell led the way among the early second-round finishers in the Canadian Open in Vancouver. The American carded a round of 67 to move to four-under par, just one shot clear of Paul Goydos, who hit a second-round 69.

Scott McCarron made the most of his early tee-off time to card a second-round 65 to move to just one-under par for the tournament. Keegan Bradley and Bo Van Pelt, meanwhile, are on level par after second rounds of 70 and 72 respectively.

England's Luke Donald struggle d with the small greens and thick rough as he carded a 73 to leave him off the pace on three-over par.

Senior British Open, Day 3

Live, Sky Sports 3, 4.0

Scandinavian Masters,

Live, Sky Sports 3, 11.30

The Canadian Open,

Live, Sky Sports 3, 8.0

Irish Independent

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