Tuesday 23 January 2018

Moriarty swings back into life on Tour as 65 lifts Hydro chances

Karl MacGinty

ABSENCE clearly made Colm Moriarty's heart grow fonder for tour golf.

Former Walker Cup star Moriarty (34), who decided to take a complete break from the professional game last September, marked his return this week to the European Challenge Tour by shooting his lowest round in three years at Macdonald Spey Valley.

The Athlone native leapt into contention in the Scottish Hydro Challenge as he followed up on Thursday's satisfying 69 with a splendid six-under-par 65, featuring nine birdies.

Moriarty, who plays out of Glasson Hotel and Country Club, goes into the weekend four strokes shy of leader Jens Dantorp.

All of this is in stark contrast to the years of frustration and under-achievement, especially with an unruly putter, which persuaded Moriarty to put away his clubs last autumn ... but he was lured back onto the fairways this week.

Impressive back-to-back 65s edged the 24-year-old Swede Dantorp one clear of another Irish Walker Cup ace, Alan Dunbar, who followed up a scintillating first-round 62 with a steady 69.

Still, Dunbar (23), who'd shared the overnight lead with Korea's Byeong-hun An, did well to keep expectations in check.

"I think everybody knows that if you shoot a low score like a 62, it's unlikely that you're going to play as well the following day, so I was happy to get round in two-under," said Dunbar.

Belfast's Gareth Shaw shared 30th on five-under after his 68, while Dubliner Niall Kearney picked up four birdies in his final 10 holes for a 69 to make the cut on the mark, three-under. Sadly, Portstewart's Paul Cutler missed out on one-under after his 72.

Irish Independent

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