Tuesday 16 January 2018

Irish Open short chips...

Morrison turns Corner in brand new BMW

MANY have lost their marbles at Calamity Corner, but James Morrison yesterday won the keys to a brand new €110,000 BMW Gran Coupe 6-Series at Royal Portrush's intimidating 14th hole.

Englishman Morrison (27) registered his first hole-in-one as a professional on the 210-yard par-three, courtesy of a fabulous five-iron through a crosswind -- the undisputed shot of the day in yesterday's first round.

"It's funny, I walked past the car on the way to the tee and said to myself, 'Why can't it be me today?'. Then my five-iron goes straight in the hole -- it was an amazing feeling.

"The shot actually was flush, straight at the flag, one bounce and into the hole. It's a pity the TV cameras weren't there," added Morrison (right), who already has a BMW X6 family car.

These are exciting times for Morrison, who celebrated the birth of his first child, a baby boy, two weeks ago and qualified for the British Open on Monday.

Jamie Donaldston of Wales later landed the 31st ace in Irish Open history by holing his 4-iron tee shot at the 181 yards sixth.

Carton House embracing

huge Open challenge

"WE love a challenge," said Carton House chief Conor Mallaghan at Royal Portrush yesterday as he basked in the atmosphere generated by the biggest crowds in European Tour history.

"This is a wonderful occasion and it's great for the tournament going forward," said Mallaghan, who hosts next June's Irish Open at Carton, adding with a smile: "It'll be interesting to see where we take it next year."

As he spoke, Padraig Harrington walked by, putting the situation in a nutshell when he followed up a warm greeting to Mallaghan with a grin: "You've a hard act to follow next year."

"I think it'd be even harder if you didn't have this," Mallaghan insisted. "You're starting from a position where the Irish Open is back being a great European Tour event again."

McNeilly's local nous

makes him cut above rest

IRISH master caddie Dave McNeilly, currently working for Italian teenager Matteo Manassero, colourfully summed up his knowledge of this week's Irish Open venue.

"Do I know my way around Royal Portrush? I know every blade of grass out there -- even the ones that have been cut," said the Greencastle, Co Down, native.

Early starter Padraig

goes to work on an egg

ANYONE who doubts that Tour golf is a team game should have been in Padraig Harrington's Irish Open HQ in Portrush at 4.30 yesterday morning.

Early starter Harrington rose to a hearty breakfast prepared by his wife, Caroline.

The family have rented a house close to the golf course and Mrs Harrington prepared porridge with berries for her husband, followed by scrambled eggs on wheat toast.

Irish Independent

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