By John Manley
As Chris Devlin walked off the 13th green during the third round of the Stewart & Stewart Tour’s recent event at the Georgia Vets Memorial Golf Club in Cordele, Ga., he probably harbored no illusions about winning the tournament. He had just finished a string in which he double-bogeyed the par-3 11th hole, followed by bogeys on both 12 and 13, which are par-4’s.
But Devlin recovered with a birdie on 14, held even over the next three holes, and finished the round with a birdie on 18. Then, the next day, he started his round with an eagle-3 on the par-5 first hole, the second longest on the course. By the time he signed his card, he had only a single blemish, that a bogey-5 on the ninth hole. He went out in 33 and reported home in 31, helped by birdies at 10, 11, 12, 14 and 15. The leaders, meanwhile, had come back to Devlin and he had a one-stroke victory over Kevin Blanton.
Devlin, who is from Ballymena, shot 273 (69-69-71-64) to finish 15 under par for the tournament. His winnings amounted to $11,340. Devlin played college golf at Alabama-Birmingham, where he was a senior during Gr’me McDowell’s freshman year.
Speaking of McDowell, he tied for 30th place in the Air Canada Championship at the Northview Golf & Country Club in Surrey, British Columbia. At 279 (68-72-70-69), McDowell finished 10 strokes behind medalist Gene Sauers. McDowell earned $21,735.
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Padraig Harrington shared 17th place in the BMW International at Golfclub Mnnchen Nord-Eichenried Munich. His 276 (70-70-68-68) was 12 strokes off the winning score posted by Thomas Bjorn. Harrington earned $22,845. Paul McGinley was two shots behind Harrington at 278 (70-68-66-74). The 24th-place tie brought McGinley a check for $16,515. Des Smyth missed the cut by four shots. He carded 144 (73-71) for 36 holes.
Michael Hoey earned a piece of eighth place in the Highland Spring Trophy, played at the Dale Hill Hotel & Country Club in East Sussex, England. His 204 (66-67-71) left him six shots behind champion Kyron Sullivan. One shot behind Hoey was Eamonn Brady, tied for 11th place at 205 (66-69-70). The 36-hole cut was set at 141, which severed Conor Mallon, 146 (73-73), and Donal Brennan, 155 (75-80).
Denis O’Sullivan was the low scorer among the seven Irishmen to contest the De Vere Hotels Seniors Classic at Slaley Hall in Northumberland. The Corkman shot 220 (71-78-71) for 54 holes to finish tied for 17th place. Brian Jones carted off the winner’s trophy by virtue of his 207. O’Sullivan’s consolation earnings amounted to $3,154.
Finish positions, scores and earnings for other Irish contestants are as follows: David Jones tied for 26th place, 222 (72-79-71), $1,955; Liam Higgins tied for 32nd place, 223 (73-74-76), $1,552; Paul Leonard tied for 41st place, 226 (75-77-74), $1,012; Joe McDermott tied for 47th place, 227 (78-77-72), $805; Eddie Polland tied for 61st place, 232 (77-76-79); and Michael Murphy 67th place, 239 (83-80-76), $288.
Golden Bear Tour
P.J. Cowan tied for 36th place in the John O’ Challenge, played over the Ballantr’ Golf & Yacht Club and PGA National’s Haig Course in Palm Beach, Fla. At 215 (73-71-71), Cowan completed 54 holes nine strokes behind medalist Damian Hale. Cowan’s check came to $840.