Sunday 18 August 2019

Ireland's Seamus Power firmly in contention at Quail Hollow despite falling victim to the Green Mile

Seamus Power of Ireland watches his tee shot on the 16th hole
Seamus Power of Ireland watches his tee shot on the 16th hole

Brian Keogh

Seamus Power fell victim to the Green Mile but still made a strong start as he battles for a US PGA spot in the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow.

The West Waterford man needs a top-three finish to qualify for his first major at Bethpage State Park in two weeks' time.

But while he made a double-bogey six at the tough 18th for a two-under 69, he is just two shots behind early leaders Adam Schenk, Martin Laird, Patrick Reed and Nick Taylor and right in the mix.

It's been a hugely positive few weeks for Power, who ended a run of miserable form with back-to-back top-six finishes over the past fortnight, leaping from 189th in the FedExCup standings to 117th.

Now he's looking to make another move forward and he got it in Charlotte, despite his late double bogey.

Scrambling brilliantly, he raced into the early lead when he knocked in six-footers for birdies at the 13th and 14th, then holed a bunker shot for an eagle three at the 15th before he found the stream left of the fairway at the 18th – the third and final hole of the infamous closing Green Mile – and took six.

Pádraig Harrington also finished with a six for a four-over 75 – a frustrating finale after he had come back from four-over after 12 holes to be just two-over playing the last.

On the European Tour, Paul Dunne's run of indifferent form continued when he opened with a four-over 76 in the Volvo China Open in Shenzen.

The Greystones man made five bogeys in a seven-hole stretch on his front nine and hit just eight greens in regulation as he ended the day  11 strokes off the lead.

Fresh from his maiden win in the Trophee Hassan II, Spain's Jorge Campillo opened with a seven-under 65 to share the lead with American David Lipsky and Tapio Pulkkanen of Finland.

Five-time European Tour winner Michael Hoey insists he needs to make the most of a good start after he carded a five-under 67 to share the first-round lead with Austria's Martin Wiegele in the Challenge de España.

"I haven't led a Challenge Tour event after round one for a couple of years, so I'm very happy," Hoey said after making five birdies in his last seven holes at Izki Golf in the winegrowing Alava region

"I need to be aggressive going into tomorrow. Last year I had some good results – finished 25th on the Order of Merit – but you need really big finishes."

Ruaidhri McGee was tied 20th after a 70, but Cormac Sharvin (73), Paul McBride and Robin Dawson (75) and Daniel Peacock (78) all have work to do to make the cut.

Meanwhile, Leona Maguire followed a course-record 64 with a 75 to fall back to tied fifth in the Omega Dubai Moonlight Classic at the Emirates Golf Club.

She made a bogey at her eighth hole and a double-bogey six at her 17th and is now four strokes behind  Germany's  Esther Henseleit (66() and Spain's Nuria Iturrios (68) on five-under.

She said: "I didn't give myself many chances today. On seven, I wanted to hit 7-wood, my caddie wanted me to hit an iron and I hit an iron in the water, which was quite annoying to finish with.

"I didn't give myself enough chances and didn't hole any putts, so no birdies today. I need to play a lot better tomorrow and hit my irons better to give myself some more chances."

Lisa Maguire was tied 49th on seven over after a 75.

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