Sport Golf

Saturday 24 February 2018

Dunne the last man standing as storm causes delay in Paris


Paul Dunne remains in the tournament at level-par 142. Photo: Getty Images
Paul Dunne remains in the tournament at level-par 142. Photo: Getty Images

William S Callahan

The thunderstorm which darkened the skies and caused a weather delay at Le Golf National outside Paris matched the mood of three top Irish players on day two of the $7million Open de France.

Graeme McDowell, Shane Lowry and Darren Clarke came to France looking for a good performance and a confidence boost ahead of next week's Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Portstewart.

Instead, they slumped out of the tournament, the second in the new elite Rolex Series of events, and have an unexpected and unwanted weekend off.

McDowell had to be the most disappointed of the trio.

He made a solid start with a 69, two-under par, on Thursday, but could not halt a bad run of bogeys as he carded 38 on each nine, for a five-over-par 76 yesterday.

At three-over for the tournament, that was him out of action until next Thursday in Portstewart.

Shane Lowry's opening 74 meant he needed a fast start and a birdie blitz to give himself a chance of making the cut.

It never happened for the Offaly man, who failed to register a single birdie in a round of 77, six-over for the day, and nine-over par for 36 holes.

Clarke had a nightmare in the first round, carding an 84, which included a horrible nine on the water-protected 18th, dubbed the toughest hole on the European Tour in 2015.

The 2016 Ryder Cup captain improved by eight shots yesterday, scoring a 76.

But there was good news. Paul Dunne (left) remains in the tournament at level-par 142. His rounds of 70 and 72 saw him inside the cut mark which fell at one-over par.

At the top end of the leaderboard, America's Peter Uihlein could say 'better late than never' as he shot 67 to grab a share of the lead with Adrian Otaegui (Spain) on eight-under.

Uihlein finished at 9.10pm local time (8.10pm Irish) after play was suspended for two hours at 5.0pm due to the thunderstorm.

"I've holed a decent amount of putts, which I didn't do at all at the US Open," Uihlein said.

"It was a good day. I hit it pretty good. Made some nice putts I guess. I was pretty steady, really, so it was all right. Any time you go 34 holes without a bogey anywhere you're doing okay."

Meanwhile, Michael Hoey and Gavin Moynihan remain in contention for the SSE Scottish Hydro Challenge at MacDonald Spey Valley GC. Both players filed 66 for eight-under and seven-under par respectively. Sweden's Mikael Lundberg leads by a shot on 10-under par.

Dermot McElroy's 71 placed him on four-under. Neil O'Briain filed a 67 for two-under.

Meanwhile, West Waterford's Seamus Power made his 13th cut of the season when he got home in 69 for one-over-par 141 in the Quicken Loans National in Maryland on the PGA Tour.

David Lingmerth, the Swedish-born competitor who lists Inverness and Royal Portrush as his favourite courses, enjoyed a faultless 65, five-under par, to take the clubhouse lead on ten-under.

Open de France

Live, Sky Sports 1, 12.30pm

Quicken Loans National

Live, Sky Sports 1, 6.0pm

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