Monday 14 October 2019

Moynihan sticks to his greens to get healthy start in Oman

Gavin Moynihan. Photo: Matt Browne/Sportsfile
Gavin Moynihan. Photo: Matt Browne/Sportsfile

Brian Keogh

Gavin Moynihan combined some short game magic with deadly putting to get off to a flying start in the Oman Open.

As Paul Dunne had 33 putts in a two-over 74, Moynihan (24) made four birdies in a slick 69 to lurk just three shots behind American rookie Kurt Kitayama.

Firm greens at Al Mouj allowed just 14 players to break 70 with Kitayama's six-under 66 giving him a one-shot lead over Scotland's Scott Jamieson and Japan's Yusaku Miyazato.

"I played nicely all day and made a few nice up and downs," said Moynihan, who made birdies from 20 feet at the 11th, 18 feet at the 13th and five feet at the 16th before following a bogey at the 17th with a birdie from six feet at the 18th. "The greens were so firm, it was very tough to get shots inside 15 feet."

Moynihan is looking forward to playing in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Lahinch where former world No 1 Lee Westwood and 2016 Masters champion Danny Willett have confirmed they will be joining Tommy Fleetwood and fellow Rolex Series winner Shane Lowry.

West Waterford's Seamus Power is also keen to tee it up in Co Clare from July 4-7, but much could depend on his status on the PGA Tour. The Tooraneena man needs a hot second round to avoid his ninth missed cut from 11 starts this year after getting caught in the Bear Trap to open with a three-over 73 in the Honda Classic in Florida. Graeme McDowell finished a shot better off.

Venezuela's Jhonattan Vegas posted a six-under 64 to lead by two shots from Zach Johnson, Ernie Els, Ben Silverman and Lucas Glover with Brooks Koepka, Billy Horschel, Rickie Fowler and Sergio Garica posting 67s and defending champion Justin Thomas a 68.

Graeme McDowell was two-over heading into the Bear Trap but after getting up and down from the drop zone after finding water at the par-three 15th, he made his lone birdie of the day at the 179-yard 17th to salvage a two-over 72.

On the Ladies European Tour, Leona Maguire headed into last night's opening round of ActewAGL Canberra Classic keen to improve on her tied 20th finish after a closing 75 in last week 's Australian Ladies Classic - Bonville.

"I was happy enough with last week, but I would have liked to have finished better on the last day," she said. "I got myself into a nice position after the third day."

Mallow's James Sugrue is tied for fifth heading into the final round of the South African Stroke Play Championship, seven strokes behind South African sensation Jayden Schaper. The former South of Ireland champion shot a one-under 71 to get to nine-under as Schaper (17) fired a two-under 70 to lead by five shots on 16-under from compatriot Wilco Nienaber.

In the Spanish Amateur Championship in Alicante, Robert Moran (71-71) tied for seventh and Alan Fahy (71-74) tied 23rd to qualify for the first matchplay round at Las Colinas today. Lisburn's Paula Grant withdrew with a neck injury and Douglas' Sara Byrne failed to qualify in the Spanish Ladies Amateur in Seville.

The Oman Open,

Live, Sky Sports, 6.30am The Honda Classic, Live, Sky Sports, 1.0pm

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