Sport Golf

Saturday 17 February 2018

Monster eagle helps Hume take control in tight battle

'The 22-year-old from Naas holed a 60-yard lob wedge for eagle three at the sixth' 2015 Photo: Sportsfile
'The 22-year-old from Naas holed a 60-yard lob wedge for eagle three at the sixth' 2015 Photo: Sportsfile

Brian Keogh

Title favourite Jack Hume broke 70 for only the second time in 17 rounds at Royal Dublin to grab the first-round lead in the Flogas Irish Amateur Open.

The 22-year-old from Naas holed a 60-yard lob wedge for eagle three at the sixth and added five birdies against just two dropped shots in a career best five-under-par 67 around the Bull Island links.

He leads by one stroke from Warrenpoint's Colm Campbell, Waterford's Eanna Griffin and Sam Whitaker from Blankness in Lincolnshire.

Portmarnock's Conor Purcell, Edmondstown's Barry Daly and Irish Close champion Tiarnan McLarnon from Massereene are locked in a five-way tie for fifth with the Isle of Man's Tom Gandy and England's Adam Chapman after 69s.

"He just doesn't give you a break, does he?" said Campbell of Hume after a 68 that featured an eagle, three birdies and just one bogey.

"Jack is just so consistent. He is playing great golf and has been doing that since the Walker Cup last year."

In contrast to recent weather-battered stagings of the championship, a mild 15mph southwest wind made for ideal scoring conditions.


And with tees pushed up by an average of 25 yards at the seventh, 10th, 12th, 13th and 17th, it proved no obstacle to world No 9 Hume, who is chasing his third title this year.

Out in the best of the weather, Hume got off to a flying start by following birdies at the second, third and fifth with that hole-out for an eagle three at the sixth to five under par after six.

He then completed a "mad" front nine of four under 31 with a bogey-birdie-bogey run from the seventh before coming home in one-under 36 with eight pars and a lone birdie at the par-five 14th.

"I think I played well enough to be a couple lower but I'm happy with that," said Hume. "It was so much more enjoyable just to be able to swing freely and not have to feel like you almost have to balance yourself over the ball."

As for 23-year old Griffin, a newcomer to the Irish panel, he's looking to make the cut at Royal Dublin for the first time and challenge for a championship win that could kickstart what's been slow season so far.

"On a bad day, it's a brute," said Griffin, who eagled the second with a six-iron to eight feet and followed bogeys at the seventh and eighth with birdies at the 10th, 11th, 14th and 16th in a brilliant homeward 33.

"Normally you turn back into the wind on the bank nine here and you are happy to shoot five over. On a nice day it is a really nice golf course."   

Irish Independent

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