Tuesday 23 January 2018

Turner stays on track for glory with impressive 66

Niall Turner
Niall Turner

Chris Smart

Niall Turner remains on course to win the Northern Ireland Open as he begins this morning's third round at Galgorm tied for second and just one stroke behind Spaniard Emilio Cuartero Blanco.

The Muskerry man, who has just returned from a lengthy injury lay-off, carded a five-under-par 66 yesterday in a round that included four birdies as well as a stunning eagle three on the ninth - although a bogey on 11 ultimately cost him a joint-share of the clubhouse lead.

It left him on a 36-hole aggregate of 131 - 11-under par - tied for second with American John Hahn and one stroke behind Cuartero, with two rounds still to play.

Moyola Park's Chris Selfridge is the next best-placed Irishman and goes into round three tied for eighth after rounds of 68 and 66 that left him four shots back on eight-under par. His round yesterday included seven birdies and two bogeys.


Former European Tour winner Simon Thornton (Royal County Down) will also feel he is still in with a shout at seven-under par with the highlight of his second round also an eagle three on the ninth.

Elsewhere among the Irish contingent, Gareth Shaw is five-under, with Peter Lawrie and Niall Kearney both four-under, while Brian Casey is three-under.

Dutchman Daan Huizing - winner of the inaugural event back in 2013 - is three strokes back on nine-under par.

Among the Irish players missing the cut - set at three-under at the end of round two - were five-time European Tour winner Michael Hoey, Simon Ward, Brendan McGovern, Ruaidhri McGee and Michael McGeady.

Meanwhile, Wales' Becky Morgan carded a nine-under-par 62 to claim the lead after the first round of the Tipsport Golf Masters in the Czech Republic.

Morgan fired two eagles, seven birdies and two bogeys at Golf Park Pilsen to equal the course record and finish two shots ahead of Denmark's Nicole Broch Larsen.

"It was a perfect morning and we had no breeze at all," Morgan said. "The breeze picked up a little on the last two holes but I'm sure we had the best of the conditions. I had two eagles today on par fives which I don't think I've ever done, and a couple of birdies and bogeys.

"The key to this golf course is hitting the fairways. It's not a long course and if you hit the fairway you're going to have short irons into the holes which is probably my strength."

On a day of low scoring, Dutch rookie Anne van Dam recorded an albatross on the par-five 14th hole, holing her approach from 114 yards with a wedge.

Tipsport Pilsen Masters, Live, Sky Sports 4, 1.00pm

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