Sport Golf

Friday 20 September 2019

Purcell to lead Walker Cup foursomes charge

Conor Purcell will be in action in the foursomes at Royal Liverpool today. Photo: Sportsfile
Conor Purcell will be in action in the foursomes at Royal Liverpool today. Photo: Sportsfile

Brian Keogh

Portmarnock's Conor Purcell will lead out Great Britain and Ireland in the opening Walker Cup foursomes clash with the USA at Royal Liverpool today.

While Mallow's Amateur champion James Sugrue and Dundalk's Caolan Rafferty will sit out the opening session, Purcell (22) and England's Alex Fitzpatrick (20) will take on US amateur champion Andy Ogletree and runner-up John Augenstein at Hoylake.

"We're rooming together and have become closer as the week has gone on," Purcell said. "We are ready to lead the pack. We love foursomes and have tee-shots we like. I don't know much about the American lads. They must be playing well to reach the final of the US Amateur but we will take them on."

Great Britain and Ireland skipper Craig Watson is keen to play all 10 players today which means that Sugrue and Rafferty are likely to play in this afternoon's singles. "I have only been playing alright, and I have a small tweak in my back so it could be better, and it could be worse," Sugrue said. "I don't care if I get no points as long as we win the trophy."

Watson's American counterpart Nathaniel Crosby opted to sit world amateur No 1 Cole Hammer and No 10 Steven Fisk, who was runner-up to Matthew Wolff in the NCAAs.

"We are a team; we are ten, and we will be there to support Conor and Alex on that first tee tomorrow morning," Rafferty said. "A win is a win, even if you are not playing. But hopefully, we'll get the clubs out tomorrow."

At the Porsche European Open, Scotland's Robert MacIntyre fired a bogey-free, seven-under 65 to take a four-stroke lead over Germany's Bernd Ritthammer on 11-under at halfway

Pádraig Harrington shot 74 and Michael Hoey a fine 71 to share 32nd on one-over with Gavin Moynihan 42nd on two-over after a 72.

While Cormac Sharvin missed the three-over cut by three shots after a 77, there was good news for the Irish at the First Stage of the European Tour Q-School in Bristol. Tyler Hogarty tied for second on nine-under after a 67 at The Players Club with Shannon's Danny Brennan joint seventh after a 69.

Limerick's Tim Rice missed out by five shots on three-over after a 75 as 20 players progressed to November's Second Stage. New Zealand's Josh Geary leads Stephen Grant by six shots and Paul McBride by seven at halfway in the Challenge Tour's Open de Bretagne.

But there are high hopes of a seventh Irish victory in the European Senior Men's Team Championship at Rungsted Golf Klub in Denmark. Michael Coote's charges came from 2-0 behind to beat hosts Denmark 3-2 in the semi-finals and now face England for the title.

Wins for Steven Graham and Greystones' Alan Condren levelled the scores before Castlemartyr's John O'Brien birdied the 18th to square his match and won the 19th with a par to send Ireland through to the final.

But there was no luck for the Irish in the semi-finals of the European Senior Ladies' Team Championship in Bulgaria, where Valerie Hassett's team lost 3.5-1.5 to England.

Ireland will meet Sweden in the bronze medal match as England take on Spain in the championship decider.

European Open, Live, Sky Sports, 12.0

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