Category: Archive

Golf Roundup: After rough start, O’Connor rallies for victory at Portrush

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By John Manley

Less than a month after winning his first U.S. seniors tournament, Christy O’Connor, Jr., gave an the folks at home an encore performance in the senior British Open at Royal Portrush.

O’Connor overcame an opening round 76 to pull away from the field in the final round, with three shots separating him and runner-up John Bland.

O’Connor finished six under par for the 72-hole tournament at 282. After the opening debacle, he became a contender with a 69 on Friday. A 68 on Saturday left him one shot behind Bob Charles, who finished seven strokes in back of O’Connor after Sunday’s round.

Charles self-destructed on Portrush’s 18th hole, needing eight shots to sink the ball.

Bland finished at 285, with Gary Player another stroke back at 286.

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The Galway man served notice early on Sunday that he had his "A" game in the bag, knocking down three birdie putts on the front nine. His only misstep came on the par-three 14th, where his tee shot drifted left into the gallery, only to ricochet off a friendly body and onto the green. Even so, he three-putted for a bogey.

Bland, playing ahead of O’Connor and Charles, tightened the noose with a birdie at 17, closing to within one. But O’Connor answered with a birdie of his own on the same hole, while Bland was taking a bogey on 18. O’Connor holed out with a par-four on 18, shooting 69 for the round, to clinch the title, although his joy was tempered somewhat by Charles’ travails.

David Jones, the next ranking Irishman, had his own opening round problems, shooting 80. He recovered to finish tied for ninth at 293 (80-70-72-71). Eddie Polland had Sunday’s low round, a 67, which helped him to a 14th-place tie at 295 (77-75-76-67). Tied with four others for 20th place at 297 were Denis O’Sullivan (73-76-75-73) and Joe McDermott (76-74-71-76). Liam Higgins would have shown better than his share of 37th place at 301 (76-70-73-82), but the last round thwarted him. Dr. Art Spring had 45th place to himself at 304 (74-75-77-78).

Further down the list were Gordon Parkhill, tied for 53rd place at 307 (79-74-78-76), Paul Leonard, tied for 59th place at 310 (77-78-75-80), and Michael Murphy, alone in 65th place at 314 (78-77-81-78).

European tour

Darren Clarke posted a fifth-place finish in the TNT Dutch Open at

Hilversumsche Golf Club in The Netherlands. Clarke’s 10-under 274

(72-65-67-70), left him five shots behind Lee Westwood, who smoked the course with a final round 63 to finish at 269.

Eamonn Darcy and Paul McGinley both showed well, occupying 15th place with three others, all of whom scored 276. Darcy’s cards read 71, 67, 69 and 69, while McGinley signed his name to rounds of 68, 69, 71 and 68.

Philip Walton tied for 60th place at 285, which is more impressive than it may appear at a casual glance. Walton has been hard pressed to make a cut anywhere over the last two years, but he was actually in second place after two rounds, having shot 69 and 66. His momentum vanished on Saturday, when he came in with a 75, a number he matched on Sunday, but perhaps he can build on this and right his badly tottering career.

Nike tour

Keith Nolan worked out a tie for 26th place in the Wichita Open at the Willowbend Golf Club in Kansas, shooting 278, which was 10 shots behind the medalist, Brad Elder.

Nolan was in a position to contend after Saturday’s play, in which he had the day’s second lowest round, a 65. But a 73 on Sunday dropped him down the leaderboard. His opening rounds consisted of scores of 72 and 68. John Kernohan tied for 47th place at 285 (69-71-73-72)

Anderson memorial

Jody Flanagan and Noel Fox, representing Portmarnock, were the medalists in the mid-amateur division at the 63rd renewal of the John G. Anderson Memorial Tournament at the Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, N.Y.

The championship is actually determined through match play, a format by which Flanagan and Fox were eliminated in the quarterfinal round. They took Jack Kiernan and Tom Yellin to the 20th hole, where that duo went one-up on the Irishmen.

But in best ball scoring, Flanagan’s and Fox’s 134 consisted of two rounds of 67, earning them medalist honors among the 16 teams that competed.

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