Thursday 16 August 2018

Dunne battles back into contention in China as Harrington and Lowry slip in New Orleans

Paul Dunne. Photo: Getty
Paul Dunne. Photo: Getty

Brian Keogh

Greystones' Paul Dunne battled his way into contention for the second time in three weeks at the Volvo China Open in Beijing.

The world No 69 was hovering on the cut mark with 10 holes to play but picked up four birdies coming home, carding a four-under 68 to find himself just four shots behind leader Matt Wallace at halfway at Topwin Golf and Country Club.

Blustery conditions made it challenging for the afternoon starters and Wallace's 70 was good enough for a one-shot lead over Spain's Nacho Elvira, Australia's Jason Scrivener and American Sihwan Kim on nine-under par with Dunne lurking in joint 15th.

Paying tribute to Irish caddie David McNeilly, Wallace said: "We made bogey on the hole before and he gave me the best advice going into the last. He told me there was no point in trying too hard to get a birdie since we are already in good position.

"So, I just kept my tempo going into the last hole. I hit a great drive, a good second shot and hit it to four feet from 50 yards and holed it."

McNeilly caddied for Pádraig Harrington until 2004 but the Dubliner and partner Shane Lowry were sitting on the cut line in the Zurich Classic of New Orleans last night after a late triple-bogey severely dented their title challenge.

Level-par for the day in the foursomes and tied for fourth on nine-under, they ran up a six at the 223-yard 17th en route to a second round 75 that left them teetering just inside the top-35 and ties on six-under par.

Michael Kim and Andrew Putnam shot 69 to lead by a shot in the clubhouse on 13-under par from Kevin Kisner and Scott Brown with Graeme McDowell and Ian Poulter, and Seamus Power and his Canadian partner David Hearn among the late starters.

In the weather-delayed Turkish Airlines Open on the Challenge Tour, all seven Irish hopefuls are in danger of missing the halfway cut at Gloria Golf Club.

Italy's Lorenzo Gagli shot a second successive six-under 66 to lead by two shots on 12-under par from South Korean Minkyu Kim (17), who shot 64, and Scotland's Robert MacIntyre (21) who had an albatross two in a 66 at Gloria Golf Resort.

Thunderstorms arrived at 4pm local time and after a two-hour delay, just 90 minutes more play was possible before darkness fell.

Ardglass' Cormac Sharvin had followed his opening 75 with a super 67 in perfect morning conditions to get into the clubhouse on two-under 142.

But he was still a shot outside the projected cut mark when play was suspended with West Waterford's Gary Hurley and Clandeboye's Jonathan Caldwell certain to miss the cut on 145 after matching 73s.

Derry's Ruaidhri McGee and Mount Juliet's Gavin Moynihan will resume their second rounds on one-under par but have just three holes remaining to get to three-under.

Michael Hoey is a shot further back on level-par after 11 holes with Tullamore's Stuart Grehan four-over for his round and three-over for the tournament with just six holes to play.

In amateur golf, Beth Coulter produced her best-ever start to a competitive event after posting a brilliant five-under-par 69 to claim a two-stroke lead at the inaugural Girls U-16 Open Championship at Fulford.

The 14-year old from Kirkistown Castle in Co Down fired seven birdies and dropped just two shots in the new 54-hole stroke play event.

A reserve for Great Britain and Ireland in last year's Junior Vagliano Trophy, she almost aced the par-three third and never looked back, finishing with four birdies to mark an excellent performance on the back nine.

Woodstock's áine Donegan is tied 19th after a 77 with Tramore's Anna Dawson carding a 78 to share 26th and Old Conna's Lucia Masding 47th after an 81.

  • China Open, Live, Sky Sports, 5.30am
  • Zurich Open, Live, Sky Sports, 6.0pm

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