Thursday 17 October 2019

Final Irish push before Open door closes

Seamus Power. Photo: Getty
Seamus Power. Photo: Getty

Brian Keogh

Time is running out to qualify for the British Open, but Seamus Power, Gavin Moynihan, Michael Hoey and Paul Dunne have another chance this week to book their tickets to Royal Portrush.

Power will be chasing one of two spots on offer in the PGA Tour's Rocket Mortgage Classic at Detroit Golf Club while the other three have their sights set on the three places reserved for the leading non-exempt players finishing in the top-10 in the Andalucía Masters at Valderrama.

While Dunne is among the 24 Irish players chasing 12 spots, three at each of the four Final Qualifying venues in the UK next Tuesday, he will have another chance to qualify for Portrush at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open in Lahinch next week, where there are three places on offer.

Host Paul McGinley yesterday announced the addition of singer Niall Horan to the star-studded field for next Wednesday's Pro-Am when rugby's Paul O'Connell and Keith Wood, racing's AP McCoy and Ruby Walsh as well as Joe Canning, Cian Lynch, Shane O'Donnell, Davy Fitzgerald, Kieran Donaghy from the world of Gaelic Games while newly-crowned Amateur champion James Sugrue will also tee it up.

However, the European Tour has warned fans hoping to see the weekend action in Co Clare to buy their tickets now rather than risk disappointment with a sell-out crowd looking likely for Saturday and Sunday. A limited number of tickets for Saturday and Sunday remain and fans are advised to buy online.

Ardglass' Cormac Sharvin will be in Lahinch and at Final Qualifying for The Open next week.

But he's a man on a mission this week and feeling confident as he prepares to battle high temperatures in the Italian Challenge Open Eneos Motor Oil at Terre dei Consoli.

The 2015 Walker Cup star is joined near Rome by Daniel Peacock, Gary Hurley and Ruaidhri McGee as Darren Clarke makes his debut in the US Senior Open at the Warren Golf Course in Indiana - the home of the Fighting Irish, the University of Notre Dame. The Dungannon man will tee it up with Mark O'Meara and Tom Lehman before he returns home for what promises to be a spectacular Irish Open at Lahinch.

Meanwhile, Kilkenny's Mark Power and Dundalk's Caolan Rafferty are also dreaming of Royal Portrush after opening with five-under 67s to share third place at the European Amateur Championship in Austria.

With the winner awarded a place in The Open, they're just a shot behind Australia's Blake Windred and New Zealander Daniel Hillier, who raced out of the blocks with six-under 66s at Diamond Country Club.

Andalucia Masters, Live

Sky Sports, 11am

Rocket Mortgage Classic, Live

Sky Sports, 8pm

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