By John Manley
Christy O’Connor Jr. posted a top-10 finish in the English Open at the Marriott Hanbury Manor in Ware, England, last weekend. O’Connor, looking forward to his future on the seniors tour, finished tied for 10th with three others at 8-under 280. That number was 9 shots behind Lee Westwood at 271, who was winning for the second straight week. Each of O’Connor’s rounds yielded scores below par, which is 72 on this course. He signed to scores of 71,70, 68 and 71.
Padraig Harrington and Philip Walton were mirror images of each other, producing identical rounds of 74, 69, 70 and 70, which totals 283, tying them for 25th place, along with five others. Eamonn Darcy, tied for 36th at 285 (71-72-71-71). Ronan Rafferty didn’t contend for the lead, but he did make the cut, a sad commentary on life in the late 1990s for this once formidable linksman. Rafferty’s 286 (69-72-72-73) placed him in a tie for 41st. Darren Clarke suffered a letdown here. His 287 (72-72-75-68) left him tied for 49th. He now embarks on a return trip to America, beginning with the Buick Classic at the Westchester Country Club in Harrison, N.Y., this weekend, followed by the U.S. Open in San Francisco the week following.
U.S. PGA Tour
Joining Clarke at Westchester will be Richard Coughlan and Keith Nolan, neither of whom will inspire fear in the hearts and minds of their competitors based on last weekend’s Kemper Open at the Tournament Players Club at Avenel in Potomac, Md. Coughlan withdrew after a first-round 2-over 73. A spokeswoman at tour headquarters in Florida was unable to provide a reason for his departure at presstime. Nolan came in at 77 and 75. His 152 was 10 shots off the score needed to make the cut.
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John Kernohan shot a non-threatening 282 (69-71-67-75) in the Miami Valley Open at the Heatherwoode Golf Club in Springboro, Ohio. His 2-over-par score placed him in a tie for 52nd place. He was 18 strokes behind the winner, Craig Bowden.
European Challenge Tour
Francis Howley strung four strong rounds together to finish tied for 5th place in the KB Golf Challenge at Praha Karlstein in Prague, Czech Republic. Howley knocked out scores of 67, 68, 70 and 69 for an aggregate of 10-under 274. He was four shots off the winner, Stephen Gallacher. Sean Quinlivan tied for 34th place with an even-par 284 (69-74-72-69).
European Seniors Tour
Paul Leonard and Eddie Polland were last week’s top Irishmen at the jersey Seniors open at the La Moye Golf Club in Jersey, Channel Islands. Their scores of 1-over 217 were good for an 8th-place tie. Leonard shot rounds of 71, 71 and 75, while Polland’s cards read 73, 71 and 73. Right behind them at 218 were Gordon Parkhill (74-69-75) and Liam Higgins (75-69-74). They tied for 12th position. Another shot back at 219 were Denis O’Sullivan (75-73-71) and David Jones (71-74-74), whose scores left them tied for 17th.
Farther back were Kenny Stevenson, tied for 29th at 222 (74-71-77), Michael Murphy, tied for 38th at 224 (74-75-75), and Dr. Arthur Spring and Arnold O’Connor, who tied for 47th at 227. Spring shot rounds of 74, 75 and 78, while O’Connor’s numbers were 71, 78 and 78. Missing the 36-hole cut, which required a score of 150 or better, were Joe McDermott at 151 (78-73), Hugh Jackson at 154 (80-74), and Tommy Halpin at 157 (77-80).
John McHenry was just a little bit off in the BC TEL Open at the Mayfair Lakes Golf & Country Club in Richmond, B.C. His 36-hole total of 143 (71-72) was one shot off the 142 needed to continue play on Saturday.