Sport Golf

Monday 18 December 2017

Murphy desperate for Irish Open place

Bernie McGuire

While tournament sponsors trumpet the participation of Ireland's Major champions Padraig Harrington and Graeme McDowell in next month's '3' Irish Open, there's still one Irish player waiting for an invitation to compete.

Harrington and McDowell stated long ago that they were going to play in the country's premier event, but for Gary Murphy the uncertainty continues.

Of the dozen Irish players with European Tour cards this year, Murphy is the sole player who is not yet confirmed for the Killarney Golf and Fishing Club event on July 29.

"I sent off an email about a week ago asking for an invitation but, to date, I've heard nothing," said Murphy after carding a two-under-par 70 on day one of the BMW International Open in Munich.

"I am not going to qualify off my category so I am relying on an invitation," he said. "Any player wants to be able to play in his own national Open. I'm no exception. I'm hopeful the invite will come through, so fingers crossed."

Murphy has contested 12 Irish Opens since his debut at Mt Juliet in 1994, with a best finish of third in 2008 behind England's Richard Finch at Adare Manor.

Peter Lawrie emerged late in the day yesterday to head the eight-man Irish contingent after carding a six-under-par 66 and deny Newcastle's Simon Thornton -- who had earlier carded a 67 -- the honours.

Lawrie, who started at the 10th hole, highlighted his round with an eagle from 15 feet on 18 -- his ninth -- which was sandwiched between birdies at 17 and one. "I played lovely and managed to get up-and-down, plus I chipped it stone dead three times and that always helps," he said. "I am delighted with a 66."

But while Lawrie is pleased with his round, he's still looking to secure a place in next month's British Open after missing out by a stroke, for the second year running, in final qualifying at Sunningdale.

Lawrie has to be the highest St Andrews non-exempt player among the top five in either next week's French Open or the following week's Scottish Open.

Thornton celebrated the recent birth of his first child by taking just 25 putts in his round that was helped also by a decision go with a 'two-thumb' grip on his putter.

Michael Hoey was lucky not to incur a two-shot penalty after his actions at the par-four 16th. Hoey's drive found a hazard but in walking in past the hazard line, he lazily brushed his club on grass.

He eventually took a triple-bogey seven but, before signing for a 71, Hoey sought a ruling on his actions at 16, but was informed he would only have been penalised two strokes had he grounded his club or in any way leaned on it.

BMW International Open,

Live, Sky Sports 3, 10.30 & 3.30

Irish Independent

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