McDowell to miss first step on road to Ryder Cup
Graeme McDowell will miss the start of Europe's Ryder Cup campaign at Wentworth next week due to a personal issue. The 2010 US Open champion and three-time Ryder Cup winner, who hopes to regain his place in Pádraig Harrington's side after missing the last two stagings, revealed his decision via Twitter.
"I have withdrawn from next weeks @BMWPGA due to a personal issue which has kept me from practising and preparing the way I would have liked to," he wrote.
Ryder Cup skipper Harrington carded a second successive 71 to make the two-under cut on the mark on the KLM Open at The International in Amsterdam.
Scotland's Scott Jamieson (35) fired a seven-under 65 to lead by two shots from Matthew Southgate, Sergio Garcia, Callum Shinkwin and James Morrison on 11-under par. But there were signs of a return to form from Greystones' Paul Dunne, who made five birdies in a 69 to lead the Irish challenge in joint 34th on four-under with Gavin Moynihan a shot further back.
Michael Hoey missed the cut on four-over after a 73 but fellow Northern Irishman Cormac Sharvin is in contention for his maiden win at the Challenge Tour's Open de Portugal. Ranked sixth in the race for 15 European Tour cards, Sharvin carded a bogey-free, five-under 67 to share third place on seven-under.
He's just two strokes behind Welshman Rhys Enoch with Derry's Ruaidhri McGee 13th after a 72, The Island's Paul McBride 16th after a 71 and Gary Hurley 34th after a 74.
In amateur golf, England's strength in depth proved the difference as they defeated Scotland 9-6 to retain Home Internationals at a sun-splashed Lahinch.
Ireland's new-look side featuring four new caps in Tom McKibbin, Keith Egan, Matthew McClean and Robert Brazill finished the week strongly with a 12-3 win over Wales securing third.
Ten of the 11-strong England team is planning to turn professional soon and after sharing the foursomes 2.5-2.5, they won five of the ten singles and lost only two to claim the Triple Crown.
Ireland were left to rue a two-point defeat to Scotland on the opening day, and while they were outclassed 10-5 by England, the loss through injury of Amateur champion James Sugrue for five of the six sessions was a blow.
"We had some new players this week in their first Home Internationals, and they acquitted themselves very well," national coach Neil Manchip said. "Three players were coming back from Walker Cup after a busy week last week. It was a disappointing week, but you can't fault the way our players went about their business."
Ireland were 4-1 up at lunch before wins for Walker Cup duo Conor Purcell and Caolan Rafferty, Ronan Mullarney, Brazill, McClean, McKibbin, Tiarnan McLarnon and Colm Campbell sealed an emphatic win. Campbell beat Gaelen Trew by two holes, holing a nine-iron for the 15th hole-in-one of his career at the 155-yard eighth.