Wednesday 21 February 2018

Disqualification for Etchart, Johansen

Mark Garrod

THE golfer's solemn duty to call foul against others as well as himself came into sharp focus during yesterday's first round of the Andalucian Open, as two competitors were disqualified at Parador de Malaga Golf Club.

One of them, Spaniard Borja Etchart, just 21 and thrilled to be invited to play in only his third European Tour event by host Miguel Angel Jimenez, was disqualified after being accused of wrongly replacing his ball on two greens.

The other, Norwegian Eirik Tage Johansen was then booted out because he'd not reported the matter to an official before signing Etchart's card.

Johansen and former Ryder Cup player Andrew Coltart, the third member of the group, had spoken to each other about the way Etchart put his ball back.

However, as the one marking the card, it was the Norwegian's responsibility to bring the matter to the attention of a tournament referee.

Etchart insisted he'd not tried to cheat. With tournament director Jose Maria Zamora acting as interpreter, he said: "The two players have seen me doing it wrongly and if that's what they say, I take it."

Playing just his second tournament in five months since knee surgery last November, Paul McGinley posted a satisfying first-round 68 to join fellow-Dubliner Peter Lawrie in a traffic jam on two-under, three behind joint leaders Paul Lawrie of Scotland and Danish defending champion Soren Kjeldsen.

Michael Hoey and Q-School graduates Gary Murphy and Simon Thornton shot 69, while another frustrating day with the putter ended happily for Darren Clarke as he holed out from nearly 30 feet for birdie at the last and a 70.

He was tied 56th on level-par with Gareth Maybin. Shane Lowry (72) and Damien McGrane (73) have to shoot low today to make the cut.

Andalucian Open,

Live, Sky Sports 1, 11.0 & 3.30

Irish Independent

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