By John Manley
Does Paul McGinley have the game to play the PGA Tour? At the Bay Hill Invitational, he showed that he does for at least 36 holes. But when you’re pay is based on 72 holes, you’ve got to put it together for the entire trip.
McGinley shot 68-68 for the second and third rounds at the Bay Hill Club in Orlando, Fla., which was bested by only one other competitor (Len Mattiace, 66-68). Not even the winner, Tiger Woods, shot better than McGinley during the middle frames. Woods came in with 65-74. But the bread that McGinley put around that meat numbered 74 and 76. Add it all up and it comes to 286, 11 strokes behind Woods and good for a 25th place tie.
McGinley gets a check for $32,666, the importance of which may come into play later in the year if he decides he wants to make the American circuit his home.
McGinley’s contemporaries found themselves in that golfing mecca of Doha last week for the Qatar Masters. The best threat that the four Irish contestants could muster was Darren Clarke’s 24th-place finish. He shot 7-under-par 281 (70-70-70-71), which left him 12 strokes behind the victorious Adam Scott.
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A poor third round took Des Smyth out of contention. He left with a tie at 42nd place, thanks to his 284 (69-70-74-71). Michael Hoey missed the cut by one swing. He needed 143 and got 144 (73-71). Ronan Rafferty came in with 146 (73-73).