At 268 (68-69-66-65), he was 20 strokes under par and three in back of the victorious David Howell. The placing allowed McGinley to qualify for the HSBC World Match Play Championship in September.
Peter Lawrie came from well back to grab a share of 11th place at 272 (70-70-68-64). His final round featured eight birdies and no bogeys. Padraig Harrington appears to have put his lackluster performance in the PGA behind him. He stood with two others in 16th position at 273 (69-67-70-67). Gary Murphy was lodged in the 61st slot at 283 (69-71-68-75). Damien McGrane was on the outs for the weekend, his 146 (73-73) coming in six strokes too high to qualify.
Richard Coughlan enjoyed his finest performance in over a year, with a joint-11th place finish in the Cleveland Open at StoneWater Golf Club in Highland Heights, Ohio. If not for an opening round 76, he might have challenged for the title, which was won by Andrew Johnson, who shot 270. Coughlan overcame the rough beginning to card rounds of 66, 68 and 68 for an aggregate 278 and a purse of $9,225. The turning point for Coughlan came on the front nine during his second round, when he went out in 29, thanks to six birdies. Keith Nolan also showed well, getting a piece of 24th place at 281 (68-74-69-70). His take was $3,720.
Darren Clarke was poised to pounce after the second round of the Buick Championship. Although he avoided any outright disaster at TPC at River Highlands in Cromwell, Conn., he was unable to limit his bogeys and backslid, finally coming to rest in 31st place at tournament’s end. His 276 (70-65-70-71) was four strokes under par and 10 off the low scores posted by Brad Faxon and Tjaart van der Walt (Faxon won the playoff). Clarke earned $25,499.
Des Smyth birdied the final four holes in the JELD-WEN Tradition at The Reserve in Aloha, Ore. to lift himself into a share of 16th place. His 283 (73-71-70-69) left him five strokes under par and 10 behind co-leaders Loren Roberts and Dana Quigley after 72 holes. Roberts won the playoff. Mark McNulty also made a run, checking in eighth at 277 (71-65-70-71). McNulty’s check came to $80,000, while Smyth collected $37,650.
Teen sensation Rory McIlroy will eventually have to decide whether to come to the States to further his career in the college ranks or jump right into the professional frying pan in Europe. His performance in the Molson International Pro-Am Challenge at Marriott’s Worsley Park in England will likely carry some heft should he choose the latter. McIlroy finished with seven others in 32nd place at 2-under-par 278 (69-73-69-67). A bogey at 18 on Sunday knocked him down a peg, and he would have shown better still if not for the inability to master two par-3s. He bogeyed the seventh hole on three of the four days and did likewise at 14 on Saturday and Sunday. Meanwhile, he played the par-4s six under and was one stroke on the high side of par on the 5s.
McIlroy carried the flag alone for Ireland on the weekend, having been abandoned by David Higgins, whose 143 (72-71) was but a stroke shy of qualifying, Colm Moriarty, 145 (72-73), Justin Kehoe, 149 (73-76), Tim Rice, 151 (75-76), and Ricky Elliott, 151 (77-74). Andres Romero shot 271 to bag the title.
Chris Devlin has spent 2005 on the “Where are they now?” list, but he came out of hiding to grab part of eighth place at the Pearl River Resort Golf Classic, played at Dancing Rabbit in Choctaw, Miss. The Ballymena man’s 278 (69-73-70-66) was 10 strokes under par and seven behind medalist Elliot Gealy. He played bogey-free on Sunday and that 66 was matched by just one other for low round of the day. Devlin, who teamed with Graeme McDowell to lead the UAB golf team several years ago, pocketed $3,837.
Gareth Maybin uncharacteristically missed the cut. At 149 (72-77) for 36 holes, he was five strokes above the cut line. Yet, he remains atop the Tour’s money list by almost $6,000 over his closest competitor.
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GATEWAY GREY GOOSE TOUR
Hurricane Katrina wasn’t going to wait for this circuit to complete 72 holes at Martin Downs in Palm City and PGA National in Palm Beach, Fla. As she was swirling her way toward the Florida coast, the decision was made to cut bait after 36 holes, which enriched Sean Qunilivan by $9,061. And how much did one missed putt or one errant tee shot cost him? Approximately $15,000. The 36-hole co-leaders earned $26,500 for finishing just one stroke lower than Quinlivan, who shared third place with a score of 133 (66-67).
Denis O’Sullivan eked into the top 10 in the Charles Church Scottish Seniors Open at the Roxburghe Hotel near Kelso. His 218 (72-74-72) was two strokes over par and 12 off Nick Job’s winning score. Well down the board came Paul Leonard, tied for 41st at 225 (75-76-74), Liam Higgins (77-75-74) and Eddie Polland (76-79-71) in joint 45th at 226, and John Curtis at 229 (77-76-76) for a share of 55th position.