By John Manley
The Higgins clan of Waterville, Co. Kerry, has become mighty competitive of late. A few weeks ago, David won a Challenge Tour event in Sweden, and last weekend his father, Liam, made a strong run in the Lawrence Batley Seniors at the Huddersfield Golf Club in England.
The elder Higgins assumed the first-round lead when he signed to a 69 on Thursday. He clung to a share of that honor when he eagled the 18th hole on Friday to finish at one-over-par 72. He shot the same number during Saturday’s final round, but his even-par 213 wasn’t good enough to join three rivals who tied at 212. Of that trio, David Huish survived the playoff to claim the lion’s share.
David Jones had sixth place all to himself at 214 (71-73-70). Defending champion Eddie Polland tied for seventh place at 215 (71-74-70). Denis O’Sullivan joined five others in a 19th place tie at 219 (76-72-71). Paul Leonard tied for 35th place at 224 (78-75-71), while Joe McDermott took a slice of 40th place with his 226 (76-77-73).
Euro Challenge Tour
The younger Higgins played to a 19th place tie at the BIL Luxembourg Open at the Kikuoka Country Club. His nine-under 279 (69-70-72-68) was nine shots behind the trio that finished tied atop the leaderboard. Henrik Stenson
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eventually won the playoff.
Last week was the U.S. Open. This week begins two consecutive tournaments on home soil, followed by the British Open. Thus, Darren Clarke could have been forgiven for begging off of the Compaq European Grand Prix. But there he was teeing off at De Vere Slaley Hall in Hexham, England, and he came away with a fourth-place tie. Clarke finished five strokes behind Lee Westwood, who managed a 68 on Friday, while the bulk of the field posted scores in the high 70s, thanks to the weather. Clarke’s final number was seven-under-par 281 (69-75-68-69).
P.J. Cowan was in and out of contention during the Greensboro Open at the Sedgefield Country Club in North Carolina. His opening round 65 was two strokes off the lead, but a 71 on Friday saw him drop down the leaderboard.
He rose back up on Saturday, when he signed to a 66. Sunday’s final round 70 entitled him to a 21st place tie at 272, which earned him $4,007.
John Kernohan also flirted with the lead, firing rounds of 68 and 65 the first two times around. A third-round 72 took the wind out of his sails, however. He rang up a 69 on Sunday. His overall 274 placed him with five others in 41st place, each of whom earned $1,880.
The women’s version of the Walker Cup pitted an Irish/British amateur team against counterparts from the U.S. at the Ganton Golf Club in Ganton, England. The U.S. took a commanding 7-2 lead after the first day of
competition and rolled to a 10-8 victory after completing Sunday’s final round.
Ireland’s Suzanne O’Brien shone for the Irish/British squad, winning both her singles matches. She defeated Leland Beckel, 3 and 1, on Saturday, then was victorious over Robin Weiss, 3 and 2, on Sunday. She teamed with Emma Duggleby in foursomes, and they halved their Saturday match with Virginia Derby Grimes and Hilary Homeyer. Sunday found O’Brien and Duggleby overwhelming Stephanie Keever and Angela Stanford, 7 and 6.
Senior PGA Tour
Another rough week for Christy O’Connor, Jr., who checked in with a tie at 54th place in the Cadillac NFL Golf Classic at the Upper Montclair Country Club in New Jersey. O’Connor, who has yet to contend this year, played well enough the first two tours of the layout, shooting 72 and 70. He staggered home with a 78 in Sunday’s final round, however. His four-over-par 220 was 18 strokes behind champion Lee Trevino. O’Connor earned $2,420.
It still isn’t happening for Keith Nolan. The cut line at the FedEx St. Jude Classic was set at 142, but Nolan was well off that with his 147 (75-72).