By John Manley
Denis O’Sullivan seems to have gotten the hang of this winning thing. One week after garnering his first European Seniors Tour victory, the Corkman fired a seven-under-par 65 to nip Brazil’s Priscillo Diniz by one stroke in the Abu Dhabi Seniors Tour Championship. Tommy Horton was another stroke behind in third place.
O’Sullivan’s first-round 66 tied him for the lead, but he fell off the pace with a second-round 71. He started the final round four shots off the lead, and then bogeyed the first hole. But nine birdies came in quick succession and his name was once again installed atop the leaderboard. First-prize money of £34,606 enabled O’Sullivan to close the year in third place on the Order of Merit with £91,259.
David Jones tied for eighth place with his 207 (71-68-68). Eddie Polland (70-69-71) and Paul Leonard (68-72-70) were two of six who shared 18th place at 210. Joe McDermott tied for 29th place at 213 (70-75-68) and Liam Higgins earned a slice of 40th place at 216 (72-71-73).
John Kernohan needed to finish either first or second in the Tour Championship to ascend to 15th place or higher on the Tour’s money list and automatically gain a spot on next year’s PGA Tour. Kernohan, instead finished in fifth place, shooting 73 in the final round. He missed second place by four strokes. He was tied for third place after opening with a 69, a score he repeated the next time out. He came in with a 70 after the third round. Kernohan earned $20,075 for the event and will now move on to the PGA Tour’s qualifying tournament.
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Eamonn Darcy was in the thick of the chase in the Italian Open with scores of 65 and 68 in the first two rounds, but he couldn’t maintain that level of play. Third and final round scores of 70 and 71, respectively, left Darcy tied for 17th place with those who shot 274. Ronan Rafferty made a fine showing, sharing 39th place at 278 (70-69-70-69). Gary Murphy tied for the 59th spot with his 282 (73-69-72-68).
Three Irish golfers advanced to the second stage of the PGA Tour’s qualifying tournament. Richard Coughlan tied for second place in the group that played the Greystone Country Club in Dickson, Tenn. He shot 16-under-par 272 (67-68-70-67), leaving him one shot behind Paul Wackerly, III.
Sean Quinlivan tied for 13th place at World Woods Pine Barrens in Brooksville, Fla. He shot 279 (73-70-66-70). Chris Devlin tied for 12th place at the Pensacola Country Club in Pensacola, Fla., where he shot 286 (74-70-73-69).