Category: Archive

Golf Roundup: Paul Leonard sweeps to victory

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By John Manley

Persevere and you shall be rewarded. Perhaps those words echoed through Paul Leonard’s mind as he registered an easy seven-stroke victory in the Efteling European Trophy in Eindhoven, Holland, last weekend. The resident of Dunmurry, Co. Antrim, had recorded three top-10 finishes on the European Seniors Tour in 1998, but had yet to earn the lion’s share of the spoils.

Leonard was in the hunt from the outset. After an opening-round 68, he found himself in a four-way tie for the lead, with Denis O’Sullivan and two others. Leonard assumed command with a 6-under 66 on Saturday, providing a six-shot cushion between himself and his nearest pursuer. His lead was never threatened during Sunday’s final round as he shot 70, to finish at 12-under 204, seven strokes in front of a foursome at 211 that included O’Sullivan (68-73-70) and Liam Higgins (71-71-69). This was the first career victory on this circuit for Leonard, 53. He attributed his improved play to the use of a broomstick putter, which he modified in length, along with a split-handed grip, a style he employed 20 years ago on the European Tour.

Eddie Polland is another Antrim man who has come achingly close to winning. He finished in a three-way tie for 10th here at 213 (72-68-73) along with Arnold O’Connor (70-73-70). Further down the list were David Jones, tied for 21st at 217 (75-71-71), Hugh Jackson (76-68-75) and Joe McDermott (73-74-72) tied for 26th at 219, Gordon Parkhill, tied for 37th at 223, and Michael Murphy, tied for 45th at 225 (77-71-77).

PGA Tour

Richard Coughlan came through with a ninth-place finish in the B.C. Open at the En Joie Golf Course in Endicott, N.Y., the best of his young professional career. He finished 8-under-par at 280, seven shots behind the titleist, Chris Perry.

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Coughlan was a contender from the get-go, never falling lower than 15th on the leaderboard. After opening rounds of 69 and 71, he moved into a fourth-place tie with a 5-under 67 on Saturday. He employed an aggressive go-for-the pin style that worked for him, despite three bogeys over the 18 holes. It would be unfair to say that he choked on Sunday — he began his round par-birdie, then bogeyed the third hole, before playing the rest of the front nine even. He was unable to break par over the back nine, taking one bogey to finish at 73 for the day.

Coughlan came into the tournament in 174th position on the money list. His B.C. earnings of $34,714 boost his total to $140,375, which should place him in the high 150s when the list is recalculated. In order to avoid a trip to Q-School, a finish at 125th position is mandatory. Kelly Gibson occupied that spot with $173,139 prior to the B.C. Open.

European Tour

Paul McGinley was the top Irishman in the Lancôme Trophy at St.-Nom-la-Breteche in Versailles, France. McGinley tied for 27th place with a 2-under 287 (71-69-70-72) in a field studded with such American stars as David Duval and Mark O’Meara (who tied for runner-up honors), Fred Couples (tied for ninth) and Brad Faxon (tied for 34th). Among those Faxon tied with at 284 was Philip Walton (73-71-73-67). Further down the list was Eamonn Darcy, tied for 52nd at 287 (67-71-74-75). Falling victim to the cut, which fell at 144, were Des Smyth (146), Padraig Harrington (148) and Raymond Burns (149). Miguel Angel Jiménez topped the leaderboard at 11-under 273.

Nike Tour

John Kernohan tied for 34th place in the Nike Boise Open at the Hillcrest Country Club in Idaho. He shot 6-under 278 (69-71-70-68), leaving him 13 shots behind Mike Sposa, the champion. Kernohan earned $1,590.

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