By John Manley
For the most part, your favorite Irish golfers could be found near the bottoms of their respective heaps last weekend, taking minor awards, if that. The main exception was Denis O’Sullivan, who tied for sixth place in the Barbados Open, the initial outing for 2001 on the European Seniors Tour.
O’Sullivan was six under par for the 54-hole tournament, shooting 210 (69-69-72), which left him 10 strokes behind winner Priscillo Diniz.
Also teeing off at the Westmoreland Golf Club in St. James, Barbados, were Raymond Kane, who tied for 36th place at 220 (74-75-71), Paddy McGuirk, who tied for 38th place at 222 (68-78-76), and Eddie Polland, who took 44th position at 225 (75-70-80).
Philip Walton’s game has shown signs of resurrection, but a disastrous 79 in the third round of the Open de Argentina left Walton mired in 81st and last place of those who made the cut. His final score at the Jockey Club in San Isidro was 294 (72-70-79-73), which was 14 over par. Angel Cabrera was low man at 268.
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David Higgins found himself on the wrong side of the cut line, which was established at 143. The Kerryman shot 147 (72-75) for an early exit.
Keith Nolan secured a spot in the Louisiana Open at Le Triomphe Country Club in Broussard and made the tournament worth his while, tying for 50th place and earning $1,507.50. He alternated rounds of 73 and 69 to make the cut, then mirrored those numbers over the weekend to finish at 284, 13 strokes behind winner Paul Claxton at 271. John Kernohan was a stroke behind Nolan at 285, tying for 57th place. His 285 was comprised of rounds of 72, 68, 75 and 70. He earned $1,383.75.
Richard Coughlan’s first round at the Bell South Classic was compromised by a rib injury that caused him to come in eight over par at 80. With little to be gained after this inauspicious beginning, Coughlan withdrew to allow time for his ribs to heal.
European Challenge Tour
Peter Lawrie brought up the rear in the Segura Viudas Challenge de Espana. After making the cut with rounds of 73 and 71, Lawrie hung up consecutive rounds of 78 to finish at 300, 23 shots behind winner, Euan Little. A score of 146 or better was needed to make the cut, which was of no benefit to
Damian Mooney, 150 (75-75), Damian McGrane, 152 (78-74), and Francis Howley, 154 (74-80).
Darren Clarke and Padraig Harrington tee it up beginning Thursday at Augusta National in their quest to be fitted for the green jacket. Harrington qualified by virtue of finishing among the top eight players in last year’s U.S. Open, while Clarke’s ranking among the world’s top 50 players at the end of last year earned him admission.