Monday 11 December 2017

McGrane back in tune as Monty ends on sour note

DAMIEN McGRANE surged into overdrive during yesterday's first round of the Spanish Open, a smart opening 68 earning him pride of place in the nine-man traffic jam in third place on four-under.

Kells man McGrane last week missed his fifth cut in seven tournaments, but played neatly from tee to green yesterday and rediscovered his putting touch as he swept within three of leader Ricardo Gonzalez of Argentina.

Irish Open champion Shane Lowry had a frustrating 71 following a double-bogey six at 18.

Peter Lawrie, who won the Spanish Open here in 2008, had a mazy, crazy level-par 72 which included an eagle, five birdies, three bogeys and two double-bogeys.

Darren Clarke completed both nines badly, slumping to a triple-bogey eight on nine and a double-bogey, bogey finish as he posted an erratic 75. Michael Hoey (77), Simon Thornton (77) and Gary Murphy (79) have even more work to do to make the cut.

Colin Montgomerie's round ended on a sour note when he slated organisers over music that could be heard from the 18th green. "Is this a party or a golf tournament?" fumed Europe's Ryder Cup captain after ending his first round with a three-putt bogey six for a one-under 71.

Montgomerie directed his anger at event director Miguel Vidaor for allowing a loud disco beat from the nearby tented village.

And when informed that the volume had already been turned down, the Scot merely shouted back: "Shouldn't have happened in the first place."

Spanish Open,

Live, Sky Sports 1, 10.30am

Irish Independent

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