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Golf Roundup Nolan challenges at Gulf Coast Open

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By John Manley

Keith Nolan found himself in contention for the first time since leaving the college ranks in the recent Mississippi Gulf Coast Open on the Nike Tour.

The result, a 15th-place tie, may not strike the casual observer as worthy of any special respect, but it represents marked improvement for Nolan, an All America at East Tennessee State, who has been slow to find his way among the professional ranks.

Nolan came out smoking in the first round, shooting a 5-under-par 67 to share the first-round lead with two others at the Oaks Golf Club in Pass Christian, Miss. He transposed those digits on Friday, his 76 knocking him back into a tie for 12th place. The Bray, Co. Wicklow, resident recovered with a 71 on Saturday to remain close to the leaderboard, but was unable to close ground with a 74 on Sunday. His even-par 288 for the tournament left him 8 strokes behind the medalist, Joel Edwards. Nolan earned $3,091.

Anderson match play

Darren Clarke is the sole Irish representative in this eagerly awaited showdown of the world’s top 64 golfers, which will employ a match play format. Clarke, ranked 15th in the world, faces Andrew Magee in his first-round match. Should he prevail, Clarke would advance to meet either Brian Watts or Thomas Bjorn. One step beyond that likely awaits David Duval.

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Qatar Masters

Paul McGinley posted a 16th-place tie in the Middle East. Rounds of 72, 69, 72 and 70 yielded a total score of 5-under 283, which left him 15 strokes behind Paul Lawrie, the runaway winner. Padraig Harrington’s consistency led to a tie at 24th place. He shot 3-under 285 (71-70-72-72). Philip Walton made the cut and finished 3-over at 291 (72-71-76-72). Not making the cut (144 or better) were Eamonn Darcy, 148 (73-75), and Des Smyth, 153 (77-76).

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