Wednesday 25 April 2018

McGrane eyes Walker triumph

Bernie McGuire

Despite the discomfort of not being able to hear out of his left ear, Damien McGrane has a very good sight of a second Tour victory after finishing in a share of the lead on day two of the Johnnie Walker Classic in Australia.

McGrane birded three holes in succession midway through his inward nine and then rolled in a sixth birdie at the last on The Vines course to finish tied with American Anthony Kang on 10 under par

McGrane carded a four-under 68 while Kang had earlier signed off for a 67, this less than a week after winning the Maybank Malaysian Open.

Three players -- Spain's Ignacio Garrido (68), Japan's Hiroyuki Fujita (68) and 18-year-old amateur sensation Danny Lee of New Zealand (68) -- are next best on nine under par. Lee won last year's US Amateur championship and will turn pro straight after April's US Masters.

McGrane picked up a left ear infection during the Qatar Masters and after having shaken the complaint, it returned last week in Malaysia. "My ear's still blocked and it's all a bit strange but I just can't hear out of it," he said.

"However, it hasn't affected my scoring and I am now looking forward to the weekend and then going home on Sunday. It's nice to be up there but I still have some important work to do, but what is keeping me going is knowing that Sunday night I am going home."

McGrane captured a first Tour win last year in wind and driving rain, but he'll have to endure temperatures of around 40 degrees Celsius if he is to become the first Irish-born winner of the tri-sanctioned event.

Peter Lawrie carded a 70 to move to seven under par, while Gary Murphy was the only Irish casualty, carding a 71 for a level-par tally that missed the halfway cut by three shots.

Johnnie Walker Classic, Live, Sky Sports 2, 7am

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