Sunday 21 April 2019

Garrigus suspended for drug abuse as Pieters leads way to impress Harrington

 

Big-hitting Garrigus (41), who won on the PGA Tour in 2010 and finished third behind Rory McIlroy in the 2011 US Open. Stock photo
Big-hitting Garrigus (41), who won on the PGA Tour in 2010 and finished third behind Rory McIlroy in the 2011 US Open. Stock photo

Brian Keogh

Robert Garrigus became the first player to be suspended for testing positive for "a drug of abuse" under the PGA Tour's anti-doping programme.

The PGA Tour said in a statement that the American, who tweeted that he had failed a drugs test for marijuana, was suspended for three months.

Big-hitting Garrigus (41), who won on the PGA Tour in 2010 and finished third behind Rory McIlroy in the 2011 US Open, has spoken about his struggles with addiction, admitting to smoking marijuana with other Nationwide Tour players during events before entering rehab.

"After a long period of sobriety, I had a relapse and subsequently failed a drug test for marijuana," Garrigus tweeted.

"A drug, that although legal in many states, is not permitted under the PGA Tour's anti-doping rules."

He was not in action in the Valspar Championship in Florida, where defending champion Paul Casey carded a superb, five-under 66 to share the clubhouse lead on six-under-par with Austin Cook, who shot 67.

Graeme McDowell got up and down for gutsy pars at the last two holes, carding a one-over 72 to finish on the cut, one-over par cut mark as Seamus Power bogeyed his 15th and 18th holes and shot a 70 to finish a shot further back.

On the European Tour, Thomas Pieters will have a chance to impress Ryder Cup skipper Pádraig Harrington in Malaysia after storming into the halfway lead at the Maybank Championsionship.

The Belgian fired a three-under 69 in testing conditions to take a one-stroke lead over Spain Nacho Elvira and Indonesia's Danny Masrin. Harrington considers Pieters a potential weapon for Europe at Whistling Straits next year.

The big-hitting Belgian, who earned a 2016 Ryder Cup wildcard from Darren Clarke following his win in the Made in Denmark event, carded four birdies and a bogey in his second round at Saujana Golf and Country Club to lead on eight under.

Harrington (47) followed his opening 70 with a one-over 73 to share 43rd on one-under in his first start for four months with another veteran major winner, Ernie Els (49), just two shots off the lead after a 70.

In amateur golf, Castlewarden's Lauren Walsh is tied for seventh heading into today's final round of the Italian Women's Amateur Championship in Sardinia.

She shot a third-round 74 to trail joint leaders Alessia Nobilio of Italy and England's Lily May Humphreys by seven strokes on five-over at Is Molas.

Lurgan's Annabel Wilson fell back to joint 24th on 12-over after a 79 while Lisburn's Paula Grant also made the 54-hole cut, carding a 77 to lie tied 43rd on 233.

Holywood starlet Tom McKibbin also made the final round in the Italian Amateur Championship at Acaya Golf Club in Lecce. The Co Down star followed a pair of 77s with a 73 to lie joint 36th on 14-over, 16 strokes behind Germany's Brandon Dietzel.

Valspar Championship, Live, Sky Sports, 6pm

Maybank Championship, Live, Sky Sports, 2am

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