Category: Archive

Golf Roundup: Irish trio bow out of Dunhill after loss to champion Spain

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By John Manley

With the Ryder Cup dust having settled, the Alfred Dunhill Cup matches were front and center on the international stage last week. The Irish trio of Darren Clarke, Padraig Harrington and Paul McGinley showed well over St. Andrews’ Old Course in Scotland with early wins over Zimbabwe and France, before losing in ignominious fashion to Spain, the eventual champion.

Ireland began its chase with a 3-0 defeat of Zimbabwe. The Dunhill Cup is strictly a stroke play format. McGinley cruised against Tony Johnstone, 70-75, while Clarke had just as easy a chore of handling Mark McNulty, whom he defeated, 69-74. Nick Price played Harrington close, however, but the Dubliner got the nod, 71-72.

Day Two found Clarke thrashing France’s Marc Farry, 67-75. Jean Van de Velde stymied McGinley, 70-74, leaving it to Harrington to pull out a close 73-74 victory over Jean-Francois Remesy, keeping the Irish hopes alive.

Next up was Spain, to determine which team would move on to the semifinals

from the four-team bracket. Clarke was pitted against Sergio Garcia and appeared carefree as he stormed to a four-shot advantage over the boy wonder after 12 holes. By the time the twosome was teeing off on 18, the lead was gone. Clarke began finding bunkers and rough; his putting stroke went south as well. He flubbed a pitch on 18, leaving him with a par, while Garcia was taking a birdie and the match, 67-68.

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Harrington and Miguel Angel Jimenez were level at 69 after 18 holes, needing a sudden death playoff to decide the winner. The Spaniard birdied that, while Harrington left with par; match to Jimenez. McGinley prevented a Spanish sweep, holding off Masters champion Jose Maria Olazabal, 68-70.

Spain went on to defeat South Africa, 2-1, in the semifinals, and Australia, 2-1, for the championship.

Nike Tour

Keith Nolan needed to finish near the top in the New Mexico Classic at the Santa Ana Golf Club in Albuquerque if he was going to qualify for the Nike Tour Championship, to be played in two weeks. Nolan had to earn enough money to climb to 50th position or better on the Tour money list for the privilege. After the first round, it didn’t look as if he’d even make the cut.

In blustery conditions, Nolan shot 77. But both he and the wind calmed down on Friday, and he left the course having shot 66, leaving him eight strokes off the lead. Nolan went even lower on Saturday, shooting 65. But when Sunday came and went, Nolan’s focus was fixed on Q-School. He carded a 73 for an aggregate 281, which was 14 strokes behind Dick Mast’s 267. Nolan tied for 21st place here and earned $2,250.

European Seniors Tour

David Jones and Joe McDermott finished the Greek Seniors Open tied for 12th place with 54-hole scores of two-over-par 218. Jones fired rounds of 71, 73, and 74 over the Glyfada Golf Club in Athens, while McDermott came in with 73, 74 and 71. Denis O’Sullivan was another shot back at 219 (75-71-73), tied for 18th place. Alberto Croce of Italy won the championship in a playoff after finishing in a tie at 211.

European Challenge Tour

Gary Murphy had the championship of the San Paolo Vita Open in the crosshairs but he let it get away in the final round. Murphy was one stroke behind the leader, Alberto Binaghi, after 54 holes. A final round 74 over the Margara Golf Club layout in Fubine, Italy laid waste to any designs of trophy hoisting, however. Murphy finished tied for ninth place at 284 (71-71-68-74), six shots off Binaghi’s winning 278. Peter Lawrie tied for 24th place at 287 (70-73-71-73).

A score of 146 or lower was needed to make the cut. Francis Howley at 147

(74-75) and Sean Quinlivan at 152 (79-73) failed to do so.

David Higgins had 12th place all to himself in the Philips Challenge Xacobeo 99 at Club De Golf La Coruna in Galicia, Spain. The Kerryman overcame an opening round 76 to finish six shots off the winning score after 72 holes. Higgins posted a four-under 284 (76-71-68-69) for the event. Hennie Otto and Pello Iguaran settled the championship with a playoff, the nod going to Otto.

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