By John Manley
The European Seniors Tour has seen more than its share of sudden-death playoffs this year. The script usually calls for an Irishman to finish tied at the end of regulation, followed by a sudden-death playoff in which he settles for runner-up status. Sunday was David Jones’s turn to assume that role.
Jones completed 72 holes of the Golden Charter Scottish Seniors Open at Dalmahoy with the same 15-under-par 273 that David Huish recorded. Jones began the final round a shot off Huish and responded with a 67 as Huish came in at 68, forcing a playoff that began at the 17th hole. Both golfers recorded par 4s. At 18, Jones sent his drive into the rough, from which he got out cleanly, but he needed three shots more to find the pin. Huish, meanwhile, was on the green in two and found the cup with his second putt to seal the victory. Jones opened with rounds of 67, 70 and 70.
Christy O’Connor, Jr. managed a fourth-place finish in his third crack on this circuit after recently turning 50. O’Connor finished at 276 (69-71-71-65), three off Huish and Jones. Others on the course included Arnold O’Connor, tied for 19th at 283 (72-70-71-70), Denis O’Sullivan, tied for 26th at 285 (74-71-68-72), Liam Higgins (75-71-72-68) and Gordon Parkhill (72-73-72-69) both tied for 30th at 286, Eddie Polland, tied for 43rd at 290 (72-73-73-72), and Dr. Arthur Spring, 53rd at 294 (76-70-74-74).
European PGA Tour
Sure, the majors are finished, but that doesn’t mean that drama and excitement are on holiday. Darren Clarke and Lee Westwood will see to that as they take their battle to dominate the European money list down to the wire. Last week’s venue was the Canon European Masters at Crans-Montana, Switzerland, where a third-place finish helped pull Clarke within £6,000 of Westwood, who tied for 12th. Clarke assumed command at the outset, shooting a 7-under 64 in the first round. Sven Strüver, with a 63, and Patrik Sjöland, with a 62, were the heroes of the second and third rounds, respectively, as Clarke backed off with rounds of 68 and 66. Sjöland took a four-shot lead into Sunday’s final tour of the course, but his 70 couldn’t fend off Strüver’s 66 and they finished tied at 21-under 263. Strüver won the playoff on the first extra hole. Clarke, with a 67, finished two behind at 265.
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Padraig Harrington was the only other Irish participant after the cut. He tied for 30th at 7-under 277 (70-69-65-73). Unable to procure tee times for the weekend were Raymond Burns (143), Eamonn Darcy (144) and David Higgins (151). A score of 140 or better made the cut.
Keith Nolan found his game last weekend. The Wicklow man has had trouble breaking par over this summer, but he shot a 2-under 69 in the first round of the Greater Milwaukee Open at the Brown Deer Park Golf Course last
Thursday. Sad to say, his 71 on Friday left him one off the cut line. No "Having wonderful time" postcards back to the folks in Offaly from Richard Coughlan. He also missed the cut, but a first-round 73 pretty much saw to that. He shot 71 on Friday.
The women invaded Ballyliffin for the Donegal Irish Open at Glashedy last weekend, but the weather had the final say. Sunday’s round was called when high winds kept balls from coming to complete stops on the greens, among other treacheries. Third-round leaders Sophie Gustafson and Iben Tinning, at 2-under 214, decided the championship at 18, with Gustafson prevailing.
Aideen Rogers treated the home fans to a fourth-place finish at 220 (73-76-71). Completing the Irish contingent were Tracy Eakin, tied for 41st at 233 (74-76-83), Lynn McCool, tied for 49th at 236 (80-74-82), and Barbara Hackett, tied for 53rd at 237 (80-81-76).
European Challenge Tour
Sean Quinlivan and Francis Howley were the two Irish representatives in the Open de Strasbourg in France. Quinlivan tied for 39th place with a score of 290 (74-71-73-72), while Howley tied for 51st at 294 (71-75-73-75). The champion was John Senden, who won a playoff with Daren Lee after the duo topped the leaderboard at 276.