Sport Golf

Monday 20 November 2017

On-fire Hurley storms into European lead

Gary Hurley carded a five-under par 66 to leave him out in front at the European Amateur Championship at St Andrews. Photo: Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE
Gary Hurley carded a five-under par 66 to leave him out in front at the European Amateur Championship at St Andrews. Photo: Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE

Chris Smart

West Waterford's Gary Hurley stormed into the lead in the European Amateur Championship on the Dukes Course at St Andrews yesterday with a stunning opening round.

The 21-year-old carded a five-under-par 66, which included five birdies, to finish one stroke ahead of England's Ben Stow, leaving Hurley out in front on his own.

Finland's Lauri Ruuska is tied for second after his four-under 67.

Palmer Cup player Hurley has been in fine form in recent months, finishing joint fifth in the English Open stroke-play championship in June – won by Stow – and was also the only amateur to make the cut at the Irish Open.

Hurley is bidding to become the first Irish player to lift the crown since Rory McIlroy back in 2006.

Ballymena's Dermot McElroy ended the first day tied for 10th after shooting a one-under-par 70, while Walker Cup star Gavin Moynihan from The Island club endured a tough first round of 77, 11 shots back. He struggled to recover after a start that included two double-bogeys and two bogeys on the first four holes.

It was also a tough day for Portmarnock's Mullingar Scratch Trophy winner Geoff Lenehan, the 26-year-old Dubliner ended on eight-over-par 79.


Wilson off the pace in Seniors

Calcot Park's George Wilson is leading the Irish charge at the British Senior Amateur Championship at Ganton, Yorkshire.

His opening-round 72 means he is tied for sixth at one-over-par, two shots off the current leader Anthony McLure.

Three-time Irish Senior Amateur Close champion Maurice Kelly (Naas) struggled to a 79 for eight-over and it was a similar story for Tramore's John Mitchell, who also carded a round of 79.

Elsewhere, Ireland's hopes of retaining the R&A Trophy as Boys Home International champions suffered a jolt as they were agonisingly beaten 8-7 by hosts Scotland in Ayrshire.

They need to beat England today and hope Wales do them by a favour against Scotland.

Dublin's Junior British Open champion Kevin LeBlanc was in sparkling form against British Boys champion Ewen Ferguson, racing into an early advantage and winning 4&3, while Rowan Lester of Hermitage maintained his 100pc record with a 4&2 win over Niall McMullen.

Conor Purcell and Cathal Butler also got points for Ireland as they shared the singles.

Meanwhile, in the Girls Home Internationals at Donabate, Ireland flattered to deceive as they went down to England 5-4 after taking the foursomes by 3-2.

Mairead Martin was the only Irish winner in the singles with Annabel Wilson and Niamh McSherry securing halves.

Irish Independent

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